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Illustrations and Biographical Sketches 










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Oakland, Cal. 







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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1881, by 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C. 

pacific: press publishing house, 


stereotypers and binders, 

oakland, cal. 


Introduction 9 — 10 


Scanty Knowledge of the Pacific Coast Fifty Years Since — Story 
of "Sergas," by Esplandin — Titles to Immense Regions 
Conferred by the Pope — Expeditions for Discovery and 
Settlement — Sir Francis Drake's Operations — Expeditions 
Overland — Marvelous Stories of a Big Canon — Expedition 
of Father Escalante 11—12 


Lieutenant Whipple's Expedition — Lieutenant Ives' Expedi- 
tion — First Attempt to Explore the Canon — Land Party 
Organized — One Sight of the Eiver — First Exploration — 
Unwilling Venture — Consider the Situation — Death of One 
of the Parties — Three Months in the Canon — Arrival at 
Fort Colville — Exploration Made Under the Direction of 
the Smithsonian Institute — Indescribable Character of the 
Stream — Loss of Boats and Provisions — Death of a Portion 
. of the Party — Emergence of the Survivors — Geology and 
Climate 12—17 


The Exiles of Loreto — Father Tierra's Methods of Conversion — 
Death of Father Tierra — Arrest of the Jesuits — Midnight 
Parting — Permanent Occupation of California — Missions in 
Charge of Francisco Friars — Character of Father Junipero — - 
Exploring Expeditions — Origin of the name of the Bay — 
Mission Dolores — Death of Father Junipero 17 — 20 

C H A P T E E I V. 


Their Moral and Political Aspect — Domestic Economy — The Es- 
tablishments Described — Secular and Religious Occupations 
of the Neophytes — Wealth and Productions — Liberation and 
Dispersion of the Indians — Final Decay 20 — 23 


Results of Mexican Rule — Confiscation of the Pious Fund — 

Revolution Begun — Events of the Colonial Rebellion — The 

Americans Appear and Settle Things— Annexation at Last. 



Extent of the Mission Lands — Varieties of Product — Agricul- 
tural Implements and means of Working — A Primitive Mill 
— Immense Herds and Value of Cattle — The First Native 
Shop 24—26 


Sir Francis Drake's Discoveries — The Fabulous Straits of 
Anian — Arctic Weather in June — Russian Invasion — 
Native Animals — Various facts and Events 26 — 29 



Fremont and the Bear Flag — -Rise and Progress of the Revolu- 
tion — Commodores Sloat, Stockton, and Shubrick — Castro 
and Flores Driven out— Treaty of Peace — Stockton and 
Kearney Quarrel — Fremont Arrested, etc 29 — 31 




1841, UNTIL THE CLOSE OF 1847. 

Captain C. M. Weber — Expedition to California, 1841 — Names 
of the Party — Sutter's Fort — Hoza Ha-soos — San Jose — 
French Camp or Weber Grant — Revolutionary Designs of the 
Foreigners — Treaty between Weber and Ha-soos — How it 
was observed by Ha-soos — Fremont's Expedition, 1844 — 
David Kelsey — Thomas Lindsay — Policy of the Foreigners — 
Weber and Micheltorena at San Jose — John A. Sutter aids 
Micheltorena — A Revolutionary Document — The "Bear 
Flag" — Attempt to Settle the Grant, 1846 — Isbel Brothers 
and Other Early Settlers — Twins, Second Children born in 
County, 1847 — End of Stanislaus City — First Marriage, 1847 
— Village of "Tuleburg" — William Gann, First Child born 
in 1847— Wild Horse Scheme— Resume 31—39 


His Nativity — Migration to the American West — Arrival in Cal- 
ifornia — Foundation of Sutter's Fort— Prosperity and 
Wealth of the Colony — Decline and Ultimate Ruin — Retire- 
ment to Hock Farm — Extract from Sutter's Diary. . 39 — 46 



His Observations in the Sacramento Valley in 1843 — Indications 
of Gold — Life at Sutter's Fort — Indian Gourmands — Won- 
derful Fertility of the Land 46—47 



Aspect of Sacramento Valley — Sinclair's Ranch — A Lady Pioin 
eer — Captain Sutter at Home — The Fort Described — Condi- 
tion and Occupation of the Indians — Farm Products and 
Prices — Dinner with the Pioneer — New Helvetia . . . .47 — 49 


Scene of the Tragedy — Organization and Composition of the 
Party — Election of George Donner as Captain — Hastings' 
Cut-off — Ascent of the Mountains — Arrival at Donner Lake 
— Snow-storms — Construction of Cabins — "Forlorn Hope 
Party " — Captain Reasin P. Tucker's Relief Party — James 
F. Reed's Relief Party— "Starved Camp "—Third Relief 
Party — Heroism and Devotion of Mrs. George Donner — 
Fourth Relief Party — The Survivors 49— 51 





Early Reports and Discoveries — Marshall's ( treat Discovery at 
.Sutter's Mill — His Account of the Event — Views of the 
Newspapers of that Time — Political and Social Revolu- 
tion — Great Rush to the Mines — Results — General Sutter's 
Accountof the Gold Discovery -Building of Saw-Mill. 51 — 58 


Mountains Unexplored by the Spaniards — The Trappers — Fre- 
mont's Passage of the Mountains in 1844- — Battles with the 
Snow — The Indian's Warning — A Glimpse of the Valley — 
Subsisting on Horse Flesh — Arrival at Sutter's Fort — Early 
Settlements — An Immigrant Party of 1S44 — Captain Truckee 
— Truckee River — Alone on the Summit — Death of Captain 
Truckee — Immigrants in 1846 — Discovery of G'dd on the 
Yuba ' 58—65 


Early History — Origin of the Name of Carson Pass — River and 
Valley — First White Men in the Territory — Sutter's Whip- 
saw-mill — Discovery of Gold — Organization of Calaveras 
County — Removal of County-Seat from Double Springs to 
Jackson — Second Removal to Mokelumne Hill — First Set of 
County Officers — Second Set of County Officers — Members 
of the Legislature — Miscellaneous Matters in Calaveras — Joa- 
quin's Career — Chased by Indians — Mokelumne Hill in Early 
Days — Green and Vogan's Line of Stages — Stories of (iriz- 
zlies — Bull and Bear Fight 65 — 7 1 


Exaggerated Accounts of Bret Harte and Joaquin Miller — Cook- 
ing and Washing — Hawks, Squirrels, Quails, and Other 
Game for Food — Getting Supper Under Difficulties — 
Lauudry Affairs — Prevalence of Vermin — The Sanguinary 
Flea — Miners' Flea Trap — Fleas versus Bed-bugs — Rats and 
Other Animals — Visits of Snakes — A Romantic Affair 
Spoiled by a Skunk 72 — 76 


Election for or Against Division, June 17, 1854 — Proceedings 
of the Board of Commissioners — Strife for the Possession of 
the County Seat — The Owl — Sketches of the First Candi- 
dates — Courts Established — Efforts to Suppress Disorderly 
Houses — Amusing Procession — Election in 1854 — Condition 
of Society 76— S3 



Ill-feeling between the Americans and Mexicans — Frequency of 
Murders — The Band First Seen at Hacalitas — Up Dry Creel; 
— At Rancheria — To Drytown — A Second Time to Rancheria 
— Slaughter — Departure of the Robbers — Excitement the 
Next Day — Immense Gathering — Trial and Hanging of the 
Mexicans — Death of Roberts— Borquitas — Presence of County 
Officers — Pursuit of the Murderers — Hunt Around Bear 
Mountain — The Murderers Overtaken — Death of Phoenix — 
Expulsion and Disarming of Mexican Population — Outrages 
at Drytown — Burning of the Church — Mass Meeting at 
Jackson — Review After a Lapse of a Quarter of a Century. 
83— S8 



Success of the American Party — List of Officers Elected — 
Rivalry Between Towns — Financial Matters — Efforts to 
Suppress Gambling— Political Parties in 1856 — Names of 
Officers Elected — Calaveras Indebtedness — Tax Levy in 1857 
— Disbursements for 1857 — Table of Receipts for all Moneys 
up to 1857 — Political Parties in 1 857— Officers Elected in 

1857— Officers Elected 1858— T;.\ Levy 1858— Condition ol 
Treasury — Financial Matters in 1859 — Condition of Polit- 
ical Parties 88 — 92 



(bounty Officers — Financial Situation — Political Parties — First 
Appearance of 1!. Burnell — First Appearance of Tom Fitch 
— Officers Elected in I860 — Amador Wagon Road Voted 
On — Names of Amador Mountaineers — Financial Affairs in 
1861 — Calaveras Indebtedness Denied — Enormous Profits 
of Officers — Political Parties in 1861 — The Amador Wagon 
Project Renewed — Vote on the Project, May 10, 186:2 — 
Rates of Toll — Impeachment of James H. Hardy — Political 
Parties in 1862 — Great Fire in Jackson— Petition of M. W. 
Gordon — Supervisors Order the Building of a Court House 
— Political Parties in 1 863 — French Bar Affair — Officers 
Elected in 1863 — General Vote — Political Parties in 1864 — 
Vote of 1864 — Financial Matters — Political Parties in 1865 
— Arrest of Hall and Penry — Election Returns by Precincts, 
1865 — Seaton's Defection — Counting the Votes — Clinton 
Vote— List of Officers Elected in 1865— Death of G. W. 
Seaton, and Election of A. H. Rose, his Successor — Finan- 
cial Matters in 1865 92—107 



Politics in 1 866 — Financial Matters — Rabolt Declared Ineligible 
to the Office of Treasurer, and Otto Walther Appointed — 
Political Parties in 1867 — New Registry Law — Election 
Returns Showing the New Precincts — Judiciary Election — 
Financial Matters — Financial Matters in 1868 — Contest for 
Supervisor in the First District — Ingalls Declared Unseated 
— Carroll Installed — Act of the Legislature in Reference 
Thereto — Wealth and Population — Political Parties in 1868, 
— Election Returns by Precincts — Politics in 1869 — Election 
Returns by Precincts 107 — 1 1 



Condition of the County at the Beginning of the Third Decade — 
Statistics of the Wealth and Indebtedness — Politics in 1870 
— Financial Condition — Redemption Fund — Condition of 
Other Counties — The Miners' League — Death of McMenemy 
and Hatch — Political Parties in 1872 — Election Returns by 
Precincts, 1871 — Persons Elected in 1871 — Financial Mat- 
ters 1872 — Political Parties in 1872— Election Returns for 
1872 — Comparison of Vote with Previous Years — Financial 
Matters, 1873 — Political Parties in 1873 — John Eagon's Posi- 
tion — Judge Gordon's Stand — J. T. Farley's Position — Elec- 
tion Returns by Precincts — Officers Elected in 1873 — Alpine 
county Left out in the Election — Financial Matters in 1S74 
— The Funding Project — Political Parties in 1874 — Financial 
Matters in 1875— Robbery of the Treasury May 9, 1875— 
Conclusion of Butterfield Matter in 1S77 — Political Matters 
in 1875— Officers elected in 1S75 110—1 19 


Political Parties in 1876 — Election Returns by Precincts — Finan- 
ces in 1S77 —Political Parties in 1877 — Returns by Precincts 
— Death of the Honorable Robert Ludgate — Financial Mat- 
ters in 187S — Political Parties in 1S78 — Vote on the Adop- 
tion of the New Constitution — Financial Matters in 1879 — 
Political Matters in 1879— Officers Elected— Effect of the 
New Constitution on the Judicial System — Financial Mat- 
ters in 1860 — Political Parties in 1S80 — Amador County 
Election Returns Nov. 2, 1880— Review from 1870 to 1880. 


Strata in Buena Vista Mountain — Carboniferous Clays — Granitic 
Sandstone — Glacial Epoch — Supposed Section of the Mount- 
ains — Former Course of the Rivers — Account of the Blue 
Lead — Stratified Rocks — Serpentine Range — Chromate of 
Iron 125—136 





Extensive Character of the Subject — Mother Lode — Methods 
of Vein Deposits — Character of the Veins East of the 
Mother Lode — Minerals in the Tertiary Rocks — Nature of 
the Limestones — Gravel Deposits — Nature of the Supposed 
Photographic Rock — Evidences of Glaciers — Moving Large 
Rocks — Volcanoes — Origin of the Trap Rock — Origin of the 
Smaller Quartz Veins — Butte Mountain — Copper — Iron 
— Gypsum — Asbestos — Marble — Kaolin — Manganese— Agate 
— Chalcedony — Skeletons of the Megatherium — Other' Fos- 
sils — Rhinoceros — Hippopotamus — Horse Destruction of the 
Arcadian Land — Botany 136 — 141 



Plutonic Theory — Ocean Floors — Other Theories Considered — 
Function of Wall Rock and Gouge — Surface Veins — 
Probable Depth of Veins — Methods of Deposit — Jurassic 
Gravel — Course of the Blue Lead 141^145 


Quartz. Mining, Commencement of — Quartz Miners' Convention — 
Account of the Mother Lode — Sketch of Different Mines — 
Gwin Mines — Oasco — Murphy's Ridge — Huffaker — Moore — 
Zeile — Description of a Model Mill — Platner Process of 
Reducing Sulphurets — Hinkley Mine — Monterichard — 
Kennedy — Tubbs — Oneida — Summit — -Hay ward — Character 
of the Same — Railroad — Wildman — Mahoney — Union or 
Lincoln — Accident in the Lincoln — Mechanics — Herbertville 
— Spring Hill — Keystone — Consolidation of Granite State 
and Walnut Hill — Discovery of the Bonanza — Statistics of 
Same — Big Grab, and Failure to Jlold it — Account of the 
Suit — Original Amador — Bunker Hill — Pennsylvania Cover 
— Black Hills — Seaton — Potosi — Quartz Mountain — Ply- 
mouth Group — Enterprise — Nashville 145 — 161 



Downs Mine — Marklee — Tellurium — Thayer — Clinton Mines — 
Mace Range of Mines — Pioneer and Golden Gate Mines — 
Quartz Veins West of the Mother Lode — Kirkendall — Soap- 
Stone or Steatite Mine — Quartz Mining in the Future — 
Put Money in Thy Purse — School Cabinets — Copper Min- 
ing — General Craze — Country Formed into Districts — Funny 
Notices — New Towns — Result of the General Search — 
Chrome Iron — Failure of Meader — Remarkable Discovery — 
Present Condition of Copper Mining — Newton Mine. 161-167 



Capture of the County Seat — Killing of Colonel Collyer — Loss of 
the County Seat — Bull Fight and Election — Mines — First 
School — Improvements in 1854 — Hanging Tree — Griswold 
Murder— Great Freshet 1861— Great Fire 1862— Flood and 
Loss of Life 1 878 — Big Frolic — Celebration of Admission Day 
— Mokelumne River — Murphy's Gulch — Hunt's Gulch — 
Tunnel Hill — Butte Basin — Butte Mountain — Butte City — 
Marriage in High Life— The Gate— Ohio Hill— Slab City- 
Clinton — Spaulding's Invention 167 — IS] 


First White Men in lone Valley — First House — First Ranches — 
. Judge Lynch — Starkey's Case — First Mill — Fun with Griz- 
zlies — Origin of Name lone — First School — First Flour Mill 
— First Brick Store — Methodist Church — Centennial — Pres- 
ident's Address — Extracts from Poem — Extracts from Ora- 
tion — lone in 1876 — Railroad — Stockton Narrow-Guage — 
Gait Road — Overflows — Fires — Buena Vista — First Settle- 
ment — Mining — Arroyo Seco Grant — Dispossession of Settlers 
—Present Appearance — Buckeye Valley — Irish Hill — Quincy 
— Muletown— Miners' Court — The Funny Man — Faithful 
Wife 182—194 



Its Early Settlers — Cholera and Diarrhea — Judge Palmer's 
Bridge — Fires — First School — Notable Homicide — Bluff 
Mining — Open Sea — Chaparral Hill — Growth of the Town 
— Bonita Affair — Indian War — Butler Claim — Decline of 
the Town — Put's Bar and the Fruit Interest — Overflows — 
Townerville — Camp Opera — French Camp — Copper Centre. 



,\s it Looked in '49 — Georgia Claim — Sharp Mining Broker — 
Rod. Stowell — Agriculture — Society — A Philosopher — 
Hydraulic Mining — Nature of the Gravel Deposits — China 
Gulch — Volcano Tunnel — Former Project of Lowering the 
Outlet — Fires — Largest Fire — Fire of 1865 — Year of Fires — 
Burning of Hanford's Store — Miners' Joke — Nocturnal 
Visitor — Murder of Beckman — Lynch Law — Stage Robber- 
ies — Miners' Library Association — Dramatic Societies — 
Russel's Hill — Fort John — Upper Rancheria — Aqueduct 
City — Contreras — Ashland — Grizzly Hill — Wheeler Dig- 
gings — Plattsburg — How Named — Hunt's Gulch — Spanish 
Gulch — Whisky Slide— Large Crystal Caves 202—218 



Sutter Creek — First Foundry — Knight's Foundry and Machine 
Shop — Planing Mill — Society at Sutter Creek — Schools and 
Sohool-Houses — Shipment of Gold — Fires — Incorporation — 
Future Prospects — ■ Amador — Ministers — Placer Mines — 
Gold of Lower Rancheria — Oleta — Execution by Lynch Law 
— Killing of Carter by Doctor Unkles — Home Rule — Fatal 
Explosion — Bad Case of Erysipelas — Lynch Law Vetoed — 
The Famous Safe Robbery — First School — Churches — Pres- 
ent Mining Prospects — Sewell's Addition — Cosumues River 
—Amusing account of Mining Machinery — Famous Lynch- 
ing Affair at Jamison's Ranch 218 — 229 



Drytown — Details of Settlement — First Justice of the Peace — 
Arrival of Families — Scurvy — Great Fire — Farming — Dry 
Creek — Rattlesnake Gulch — Mile Gulch — Murderers' 
Gulch — Forest Home — Arkansas Creek — Yankee Hill — Big- 
Nugget — Willow Springs — Central House — Plymouth — 
Puckerville — Mineral Springs — Fires — Enterprise — Yeomet. 



Elevation Above Tide-water — lone, Jackson, Volcano — Pine 
Grove — Dentzler's Flume House — Claiborne Foster's — Ante- 
lope Spring's — Hipkins & Wiley's Station— Ham's Station- 
Mud Springs — Stevens' Lumber Yard — Emigrant's Pass — 
Amount of Timber Remaining — Climatic Effect of the Loss 
of Timber — Summer Pasture — As a Summer Resort — Prac- 
tical Jokes — Salt Springs — Mammoth Quartz Vein — Trout 
Fishing — Silver Mines — Sunset from the Sierras — Climate — 
Drouths — Freshets — Rain Table for Amador County, as Com- 
piled by Frank Howard — Rain Table for Sacramento, cor- 
rected for Sutter Creek 234 — 242 



Claim Rejected — Claim Confirmed on Appeal — Character of 
Grant — Matters of Record — Letter from T. A. Hendricks, 
Attorney General — Final Survey — During Hancock Agency- 
Proposed Settlement — Sale to J. Mora Moss & Co.-— Memo- 
rial to President Lincoln — Dispossession — Settlers' League — 
Shooting of Herman Wohler — Last Effort — Memorial to 
Congress 242 — 250 




Farnham's History of Alvarado.' 250 — 255 



Origin — Probable Antiquity — Indian Relics — Personal Character 
of California Indians — Division of Tribes — Indian Huts — 
Food — Indian Mills — Indian Cooking — Meal Time — Cloth- 
ing — Legal Tender — Grizzlies — Arms — Principles of Gov- 
ernment — Family Relations — Marriage — Small Hands and 
Feet — Religion — Funerals — Military Reviews — Numbers 
Assembled — Military Evolutions — Games — Sweat House — 
Fandango at Yeomet 1851— Diseases and Treatment— Scourge 
of 1832-33— Anecdotes of the Indians 255—261 



Kilhain Ditches — Ham Ditch — Amador and Sutter Ditch — Wil- 
low Spring Ditch — Floating Lumber— Novel Passenger Boat 
— Empire Ditch — Amador Ditch — Buena Vista Ditch — 
Lancha Plana Ditch — The Nigger Ditch — Poverty Bar Ditch 
— Volcano Ditch — Cosumnes Water Company — The Amador 
Canal 261—267 


First School in the State — School System — First School Report 
— First County Superintendent — School-book War — School 
Census in 1863 by Districts — School Statistics — Condition 
of Schools in 1871— Tribute to School-teachers 267—273 



Charles Boynton — Amador Ledger — Dispatch — Union Record — 
Sutter Creek Independent — lone News — Amador Sentinel. 



The Society of Free Masons — Modern Masonry — General Ten- 
dency of Masonry — Introduction into the United States- 
Volcano Lodge No. 56 — Amador Lodge No. 65 — lone Lodge 
No. 80— Henry Clay Lodge No. 90 — St. Marks Lodge No. 15 
— Drytown Lodge No. 174 — Royal Arch Chapter No. 11 — 
Origin of Odd Fellowship — Encampment — Degree of Re- 
bekah — Volcano Lodge No 25 — Sutter Creek Lodge No. 31 — 
Jackson Lodge No. 36 — lone Lodge No. 51 — Telegraph Lodge 
No. 79 — Lancha Plana Lodge No. 95 — Plymouth Lodge No. 
260 — Grand Encampment No. 17 — Marble Encampment No. 
19 — Temperance Societies — Subjects for Insane Asylums — 
Good Templars — Knights of the Red Cross — Blue Ribbon 
Society — General Tendency of Temperance Societies — Bur- 
lesque Societies — E-Clampsus Vitus — Hautontimoroumenos 
— Knights of the Assyrian Cross — Pioneer Societies — Am- 
ador Society of California Pioneers — Sclavonic Illyric 
Mutual Benevolent Society — Grangers 274 — 283 


Sketches of Amador County Bar 283—295 

Officers of Amador County 296 — 297 

Patrons Directory 340 — 344 


Allen, George 299 

Baird, Jefferson . . . 299 

Bamert, Charles _ 299 

Bishop, Edgar. 300 

Beyther, J. C ...300 

Brown, John A 300 

Caminetti, Anthony . . . 300 

Caiiile, William Washington . _ 301 

dimming, James. . _ . . .301 

Clark, William O 302 

Davis, Thompson . ........ 303 

Downs, E.C -. .. .303 

Easton, Thomas W. . 303 

Emmons, S.W . . . ... ...304 

Fagan, Peter . .3O4 

Farnham, H. C. . _ _304 

Finn, Stephen 305 

Fontenrose 305 

Foster, Margaret ... 305 

Grambart, John H 306 

Green, Charles _ .306 

Gregory, Inglefeld B 306 

Ham. A. C. .306 

Herman, Franklin . . .307 

Hinkson, E. S. and J. M 307 

Hoffman, Frank. ... - -307 

Holman, James H 307 

Hosley, John 308 

Hutchins, John W 308 

Jones, W. C ---308 

Kerr, Thomas 309 

Kidd, Stephen P 309 

Leach, Merwin .... 309 

Lepley, Isaac 309 

Lessley, James — 311 

Little, M. J. . -.311 

Lndgate, Eobert ... 312 

Martin, O. E 312 

McLaine, L ....... .313 

Meehan, James. . _ 313 

Meek, Hiram C 313 

Moore, George 314 

Murray, Matthew 314 

Northup, John 314 

Palmer, E. W 315 

Parks, James F . . .315 

Peck, Palmer N ..315 

Petty, A... 315 

Pettitt, J. E 316 

Prouty, Hon. W. H 316 


Eichtmyer, B. F .317 

Ringer, J. H. . . . ... 318 

Eobertson, James. 318 

Eoss, Benjamin 318 

Sallee, Jonathan . _ 318 

Sanborn, Arthur B . .319 

Sanderson, John 319 

Schacht, Bruno H._ ....319 

Sheakley, Alexander .319 

Shealor, James W 320 

SpagnolLD. B 320 

Spagnoli, Sylvester G 320 

Stewart, Eobert. .. .320 

Stolcken, J. D 321 

Van Sandt, A. A .321 

Violett, James W 321 

Vogan, John 322 

Webb, Eichard 322 

Weller, Conrad 322 

Wells, Matthew H .323 

Whitacre, Isaac W 323 

Wheeler, Stephen C 323 

Whitmore, F. M 323 

Williams, Nason C 324 

Woolf'ord, Joseph 324 

Younglove, Dwight 324 




Allen, George Facing Page 


Allen, George " 


Baird, Jefferson,. " " 


Bamert, Charles . " " 


Berminghani, P 


Bishop, Edgar. •' 


Blyther, J. C . " 


Bunker Hill Mine 


Caminetti, A 


Carlile, Wm. Washington, " 


Central House Banch. . 


County Hospital 


Court House . 


Cumming, James 

Davis & Leach " " 


Dosch, Charles 


Downs, B. C _'-_•.. 


Downs Mining Company, " 


Easton, Thomas W 


Emmons, S. W 


Eureka.. ... 


Evans & Askey 


Fagan, Peter " 


Farley, James T 


Farnham, H. C 


Forest House 


Forest Livery Stable.. 


Foster, Mrs. Margaret . . 


Frates, Frank " 


Froelich, Bosa " 


Green, Charles ..... Facing Page 72 

Gregory, Inglefield B. " ". 176 

Grambart, J. H " '"' 280 

Ham, A. C •• " 236 

Ham Station " " 236 

Herman, Fr " " 220 

Hinkson, B. S. & Bro.. " " 88 

Historical Tree Frontispiece 

Hoffman, Frank. . .. Facing Page 44 

Holman, J. H ...... . ' " " 212 

Hosley, John " " 56 

Hutchins, J. W ■... " " 32 

Jones, W.C " " 68 

Kidd, Mrs. Mary M " " 176 

Knox, Israel W " " 116 

Lepley, Isaac. ..." " 310 

Little. M.J •' ■• 108 

Ludgate, Mrs. Mary H. " " 56 

Mahoney Mining Company' - " 156 

Martin, O. E " •' 84 

Mehan, James " - 92 

Moline Mill... - " 32 

Moore, Judge George.. - " 112 

Mountain Spring House, '■ " 

Murray, Matthew . " ■' 192 

National Hotel " " 24 

Northup, John . . . ... " " 152 

Palmer, R. W " " 224 

Penry.W. M " ■• 56 

Pettitt, J. E " " 200 

Petty, A Facing Page 88 

Potter, E. S . " 

" 168 

Prouty, William H 


Ringer, Jonathan H. . . 

" 184 

Robertson, James 

" 192 

Sallee, Jonathan 

■' 280 

Sanderson, John ...".. . 


Shealor, James 

•• 100 

Sheakley, Alexander 

'■ 160 

Spagnoli, D. B. . . . 


Spagnoli, S. G ... 


Stewart, S. D. R " 

"• 156 

Stewart, S. D. R 

" 181 

St. George Hotel " 


Stolcken, J.D " 

" 200 

Union Livery Stable. . 


Van Sandt, A. A . . " 

" 152 

Violett, J. W " 


Vogan, John 

" 120 

Volcano Livery Stable. 


Weller C " 


Wells, M. H... 

- 280 

Wheeler, S. C '• 

: - 212 

Whitacre, Isaac W. . 

- 188 

Whitmore, F. M... ... 

•• 100 

Williams, Nason C 

" 240 

Woolf'ord, Joseph 

" 188 

Younglove Dwight 


Allen, George Facing Page 300 

Allen, Mrs. George " " 300 

Brown, John A " " 128 

Caminetti, A " " 248 

Clarke, W. O " " 302 

Dudley, A. K " " 232 

Fagan, Edward Millington," " 164 

Fagan, Evaline " " 164 

Fagan, Emmaline " " 164 

Finn, Stephen... " " 304 

Fontenrose, L. J " " 52 

Green, Charles "' " 72 

Green, Mrs. Charles " " 72 


Kerr, Thomas . Facing Page 312 

Lepley, Isaac . " " 308 

Lessley, James " " 264 

McLaine,L __.,.. " " 20 

McLaine, Mrs. L ' . " " 20 

Meehan, James . . . " " 288 

Meek, Hiram C " " 28 

Moore, George " " 16 

Parks, J. F.._. .... " " 324 

Peck, P.N •' " 256 

Penry, W.M " " 136 

Petty, A " '" 296 

Richtmyer, B. F '" " 317 

Boss, Benj . . . Facing Page 320 

Sanborn, Arthur B ... . " " 144 

Schacht, Bruno H '• " 48 

Stewart, Robert . " " 204 

Stewart, Mrs. C. A '• " 204 

Vogan, John. " " 124 

Webb, Richard... . " " 140 

Weller, C ... - " 76 

Weller, Mrs. C " " 76 

Weller, George C... ' " 76 

Woolford, Joseph " " 132 


■ . ' , 

■ =■■■'- \ 








Cicero says that, " it is the first law of history 
that the writer should neither dare to advance what 
is false nor suppress what is true; that he should 
relate the facts with strict impartiality, free from ill- 
will or favor; that his narrative should distinguish 
the order of time, and, when necessary, the descrip- 
tion of places; that he should unfold the motives of 
men, and. in his account of the transactions, or the 
events, interpose his own judgment; should relate 
what was done, how it was done, and what share 
rashness, prudence, or judgment had in the issue; 
that he should give the character of the leading men, 
their weight and influence, their passions, principles, 
and conduct through life." 

A good history is a growth; the first attempts to 
collate the facts bearing on the settlement and develop- 
ment of a country are necessarily imperfect. Many 
things will creep in which were better left out, and 
others of importance are omitted. Some matters 
will receive undue importance, and few will be accu- 
rately related. Not until edition after edition has 
been brought before the public will the prominent 
events receive due notice, or the doubtful ones have 
justice done them. A thousand eyes will be sharp- 
ened to criticise the narrative. A thousand new 
witnesses will arise to contradict, affirm, or correct. 
The publishers hope that the public will make due 
allowance for errors unavoidable in the first attempt 
to collect the facts pertaining to the early history of 
the county. In many instances the testimony, even 
of eye-witnesses, is very conflicting. This is true of 
the affairs of August, 1855. Hardly any two agree 
in their narratives of the circumstances. In this, as 
in other matters, the most probable statements are 
recorded. Nothing has been set down in malice, and 
some things have been left out as being too much 
like tales told out of school; as far as possible con- 
signing them to oblivion. 

Having resided over a quarter of a century in the 
county, and acted a part, though a humble one, in 

many of the circumstances narrated, the writer has 
drawn largely on his own memory for many of the 

The chapters on geology and mining, will, it is 
hoped, furnish interesting and profitable reading to 
all, especially those engaged in mining. The facts 
and theories are the result of years of observation, 
and many miles of travel, and are not retailed at 
second hand from Whitney or other scientists. The 
observations on mining have been compiled from 
the statements, opinions and experiences, of hun- 
dreds of intelligent miners. Thanks are due to all 
the superintendents, especially to those of the Ama- 
dor Consolidated, the Keystone, the Oneida, the 
Empire, the Downs and the Zeile mines for valuable 
information on gold mining, and to Edward Johnson 
of the Newton mine, for statistics and methods of 
copper mining. 

The habits of the early miners will be read with 
interest. The writer hopes that some of the false 
impressions, produced by Bret Hart, Joaquin Miller, 
and other writers, regarding early Californians, will 
be dissipated by a true description thereof. The stories 
of the " Yuba Dam," " Tuolumne Debating Society" 
and others of that kind, have truth enough for a 
hint to a lively imagination and no more; and those 
who, in after years, judge California by those things, 
will be wide of the mark. The writer, having been 
a resident of the State since 1850, has an interest 
in the good reputation of the pioneers, and is glad 
to enter his protest to such absurdities being re- 
corded as history. With him, the work has been 
one of love, and a design to do justice to our coun- 
trymen, with no desire to hold them up to derision. 

The publishers intended to give statistics of the 
growth of the mining and agricultural industries, 
but found the published returns entirely worthless. 
In some instances, the estimations were utterly ab- 
surd. In 1877, the yield of wheat in Amador county 
was estimated at 236 bushels to the acre, this esti- 



ma to being copied without remark into all the works 
on statistics. In 186G, the number of grape-vines 
was estimated at 557,773 ; in 1867, at 1,140,000; 1868, 
at 683,623. The estimates in many instances were 
mere guess work. The values of real and personal 
property as a basis for taxation, are the only esti- 
mates that approximate the truth. These have 
been given from year to year, in the continuous 
history of tho county. 

The history of the Arroyo Seco Grant has been ex- 
haustively treated. The facts in regard to this, the 
most important event in the history of the county, 
were fast sinking into obscurity, and it was 
deemed best to collect and preserve them, that our 
children might know the gi'cat wrong that was 
perpetrated under cover of the law. Valuable 
assistance in this was rendered by J. A. Forbes (now 
deceased), who was familiar with the whole history 
of the grant system. 

The chapter on the Colorado Canon will be found 
interesting, and worthy of being preserved with the 
other facts bearing on the discovery and settlement 
of California. 

The article on the Dead Rivers of California, cop- 
ied from the Overland Monthly, is well worth preser- 
vation in connection with the geology of the county, 
and will be Avelcomed by all who are interested in 
the ancient river system. 

In making up this work, many authorities have 
been consulted; Foi'bes' History of California, writ- 
ten in 1835; Farnham's History of the Period of 
the Arroyo Seco Grant; Annals of San Francisco 
and California, by Frank Soule; Tuthill's His- 
tory of California; History of the Pacific School 
System, by John Swett; Cronise's Natural Wealth 
of California; Hittel's Resources of California; Bay- 
ard Taylor's Fl Dorado; Scenes in El Dorado in 
1849-50, by S. C. Upham; Raymond's work on 
the Mines of the Pacific Coast, and others too numer- 
ous to mention. The Odd Fellows' libraries of Oak- 
land and San Francisco, the school libraiy of 
Alameda county, and mercantile library of San 
Francisco, as well as private collections, have 
been frequently visited. The files of the Alta Cal- 
ifornia; Spirit of the Times (M. D. Boruck's paper), 
and other city papers have often been consulted, as 
well as files of the county papers, the Ledger, Sentinel, 
News and Dispatch. To the proprietor of the Dis- 
patch especially, are many thanks due. The county 
papers published previous to August 23, 1862, were 
mostly destroyed in the great fire. The loss is irrep- 
arable, though it is said the hermit at the Gate, J. G. 
Farrar, has complete files of all the papers ever pub- 
lished in the county, but the author was unable to 
get access to them. 

To point out all the sources of information, or to 
name all the persons giving us valuable assistance 
would bo impossible. It had to be gathered from 
a thousand sources, and thousands of notes com- 
pared. Valuable assistance was rendered by Hon. 

II. A. Carter in matters of the Arroyo Seco Grant, 
Robert Reed, James Bagley, D. Stewart, H. F. Hall, 
Hon. R. B. Swift, Hon. L. Brusie, J. M. F. Johnson, 
Mrs. J. T. Henley, J. W. Surface, W. II. Fox, J. P, 
Martin, P. Scully, William Cook, John Filzsimmons, 
Hon. I. B. Gregory, A. Thompson, Hon. J. W. D. 
Palmer, Isaac Waddell, Hon. William Waddell, Will- 
iam Maroon, J. C. Fithian, R. W. Palmer, George W. 
Porter, James M. Porter, Thomas Love, Louis Tol- 
lier, Ellis Evans, A. Askey, Mrs. Ellis Evans, J. D. 
Davis, James Meehan, George Durham, Hon. M. W. 
Gordon, Hon. John A. Eagon, Hon. A. C. Brown, J. 
C. Shipman, Thomas Jones, William Lowry, John 
Vogan, II. Goldncr, J. A. Butterfield, C. J. Nickerson, 
C. A. Purinton, P. N. Peck, Wilmer Palmer, William 
Pitt, E. R. Yates, J. E. Reaves, R. Robinson, J. T. 
Wheeler, A. P. Clough, Jacob Cook, J. C. Ham, Ed- 
mund Wise, S. Loree, James Henry, L. Ludikens, L. 
McLaine, D. S. Boydston, A. Petty, F. M. Whitmore, 
F. Mace, James Hall, J. A. Foster, W. Q. Mason, A. 
Jerome, S. Petty, R. Fry, Isaac E. Eastman (who was 
here in 1848), James Hall, E. Genochio, L. J. Fonten- 
rose, County Clerk, C. H. Turner, A. Cammetti, Dis- 
trict Attorney, B. Ross, Hon. J. T. Farley, Thomas 
Frakes,C. Gossum, T. B. Greenhalgh, J. F. Gould, C.J. 
Garland, C. B. Goodrich, W. H. Harmon, W. E. Huey, 
Henry Kutchenthall, James Livermore, S. S. Man- 
non, James McCauley, I. G. Nute, I. N. Randolph, 
W. T. Wildman, William Jennings, J. C. Williams, 
Frank Henderson, S. B. Boardman, H. H. Towns, 
Superintendent of Amador Canal, James Morgan, 
J. O. Bartlett, R. T. Bisbee, Wm. O. Clark, M. B. 
Church, T. A. Chicizola, A. K. Dudley, Jacob Em- 
minger, Dan. Worley, John Marchant, Wm. Moon, 
T. J. Phelps, A. S. Putnam, B. S. Sanborn, E. A. 
Smith, W. South erland, Silas Tubbs, J. Northup, Leroy 
Worden,Hon. Chapman Warkins, and many others. 

Many old residents have been interviewed in San 
Francisco and Oakland, and valuable information 
gained: John Hanson first Sheriff of Calaveras, John 
Burke, Dr. Henry M. Fisk, Dr. W. Ayer, J. W. 
Paugh, J. G. Severance, J. A. Robinson, N. W. Spaul- 
ding, Dr. Louis Soher, Hon. E. D. Sawj^er, A. J. 
Houghtaling, W. C. Pratt, (the last three being mem- 
bers of the Legislature at the time of the Act pro- 
viding for the organization of the county), Hon. W. W. 
Cope, Hon. Wm. Higby, Hon. Wm. B. Ludlow, B. S. 
E. Williams, Hon. J. W. Bieknell, Alvinza Hayward, 
A. W. Richardson, Hon. J. D. Stevenson (commander 
of the famous Stevenson regiment), J. Alexander 
Forbes, James Foley, who established Post-offices in 
Amador, and others names not recalled. 

The author may be permitted to say in conclusion 
that the labor has been a source of constant pleasure; 
that the memories of the many reunions with the 
pioneers will remain pleasant as long as life lasts. 
He hopes the patrons of the work will manifest tho 
same good spirit in reading the work, passing lightly 
over the unavoidable imperfections, and remember- 
ing only that which is good. 




Scanty Knowledge of the Pacific Coast Fifty Years Since — Story 
of "Sergas," by Esplandin — Titles to Immense .Regions 
Conferred by the Pope — Expeditions for Discovery and 
Settlement — Sir Francis Drake's Operations — Expeditions 
Overland — Marvelous Stories of a Big Canon — Expedition 
of Father Escalante. 

Those who studied geography forty or fifty years 
since, recollect how little was known of the "Great 
West." "Lewis and Clarke's Expedition to the 
Rocky Mountains and Oregon," contained about all 
that was known of the Pacific coast; and hundreds 
of persons now living, remember that that portion 
of the map now marked California and Arizona, 
was occupied with a table of distances from Wash- 
ington to our larger cities. The Rocky Mountains 
were represented as a single range, running from 
the Isthmus of Darien to the North Pole. More 
facts concerning the Pacific slope were learned in 
the first fifty years after the discovery of the New 
World, than in the following two hundred. The 
deserts of Arizona and the " Great Cafion," shut 
off exploration and settlement from this direction, 
though rumors of a country rich in gold, had circu- 
lation among the hordes that overrun Mexico soon 
after its conquest by Cortez and his followers. On 
such rumOrs, was founded the story of " Sergas" by 
Esplandin, the son of Amadis of Gaul, which con- 
tained " the story of a country called California, 
very near to the terrestrial paradise, which was 
peopled by black women without any men among 
them, because they were accustomed to live after 
the manner of the Amazons. They were of strong 
and hardened bodies, of ardent courage, and great 
force. The island was the strongest in the world, 
from its steep and rocky cliffs. Their arms were all 
of gold, and so were the caparisons of the wild 
horses they rode." 

At that time, the world was filled with rumors of 
wonderful discoveries, by land and by sea. Some, 
like De Soto, set off in quest of the " spring of eter- 
nal youth," which it was confidently asserted was 
just on the other side of a certain range of mount- 
ains. It was easier to believe in a land of gold, 
than in a spring of eternal youth. This exciting 
book, written to satisfy the literary market of that 
age, was universally read in Spain; and, it is highly 
probable, was partly the cause for the expedition 
which afterwards, under the charge of Hernando 
Grijalva, actually discovered " California very near 
to the Terrestrial Paradise;" so that it is probable 
that a dreamy old romancer in Seville, Spain, sug- 
gested the name of the country that was to upheave 
new continents in the commercial world. 


Cortez had achieved the conquest of Mexico with 
but a handful of men, in 1519; and nine years after 
returned to Spain, laden with the spoils of an empire 
larger and richer, and, perhaps, more civilized than 

Spain herself; also with accounts of countries still 
richer and larger, to the north-west of Mexico. He 
was received with distinguished honors by Charles 
V., and rewarded by many royal concessions, among 
which Avere the right to one-twelfth of all the 
precious metals he could find, and a perpetual vice- 
royalty for himself and heirs, over all the countries 
he should discover. It must be remembered that 
the Pope, in consideration of the dissemination of 
the " True Faith," had granted to the Emperor of 
Spain all lands that his subjects might discover; so 
the title seemed to ha fee simple in Cortez, who, from 
being a piratical, roving vagabond, bounded into 
royal honors. 


Returning to Mexico, he immediately set about 
the expedition; but, delayed by the difficulty of 
building and fitting out ships on the western coast, 
he did not get off until 1535. Having landed on the 
lower peninsula of California, he found the country 
so barren and uninviting, that he abandoned the 
expedition, and returned to Mexico in 1537. On his 
return, he heard of the De Soto expedition, which, 
like all the other expeditions, had nearly, but not 
quite, reached the land where arms, as well as trap- 
pings for horses, were made of pure gold. This led 
to the fitting out of another expedition in 1542, 
under Jose R. Cabrillo, who sailed northward as far 
as Cape Mendocino, which he named Cape Mendoza, 
in honor of his friend, the Viceroy of Mexico. Keep- 
ing within sight of the coast the greater part of the 
way, he discovered the Earallone Islands, also some 
of the more southern groups; but, like his predeces- 
sor, failed to see the future Golden Gate. In an 
English work printed in 1839, Mr. James Alexander 
Forbes states that two out of the three vessels, com- 
posing this expedition, with some twenty men, were 
lost in the Gulf of California, in consequence of a 
mutiny and a difficulty with the natives, near La 

These expeditions were so unsatisfactory, that 
Cortez resolved upon exploring the coast himself. 
Three vessels were fitted out at Tehuantepec, he 
marching overland with a large body of soldiers, 
slaves, settlers, and priests. Cortez explored the 
Gulf of California, proved that California was not 
an island, but part of the main land. For some 
time the Gulf of California was known as the Sea of 
Cortez. It was also called The Red Sea (El Mar 
Rojo), from having a reddish color from the wash 
of the Colorado river, which empties into the gulf 
at the head. Cortez returned to Acapulco, but con- 
tinued to employ others in the explorations, which 
were confined mostly to lands in the vicinity of the 
gulf. Several attempts were made to settle the 
land, but, as it was very barren and poor, the col- 
onies made little progress. The natives were desti- 
tute of means and character, both sexes going nearly 
or quite naked. 




Sir Francis Drake reached the Pacific ocean in 
1578, through the Straits of Magellan, thirty-six 
years after Cabrillo named the Cape oi Mendocino, 
and, not having heard of the former expeditions, 
took possession of the whole country in the name of 
Queen Elizabeth. It has been claimed for him that 
he entered the Bay of San Francisco; but the lati- 
tude in which he located it (37° 59 5"), proves it to 
have been some miles north, at a place now called 
Drake's bay, though most of the old geographies 
give the present sea-port as " The Bay of Sir Francis 
Drake." It is strange that, having much inter- 
course with the natives, he should have failed to 
discover the great harbor which was in" sight from 
some of the surrounding hills. The real discovery 
of the Bay of San Francisco, was made by Portala, 
in an overland expedition. What a vision, when he 
stood on the top of some of the low ranges of mount- 
ains surrounding, and saw the rich valleys reposing 
in a perpetual Indian Summer, stretching to the 
northward sixty miles. Little did the Spaniard, or 
those who came after him, suppose that the rivers 
flowing into the bay ran over golden sands, or that 
the hills near the outlet would be covered by a city 
larger than any of the cities of magnificent Spain. 

It is now time to turn to the attempts to explore 
the country jn other ways. 


The ill success attending the expeditions up the 
coast, induced explorations by land, especially as 
marvelous reports of rich walled cities in the far 
north, occasionally reached the capital of Mexico. 
In less than fifty years from the discovery of Amer- 
ica, soldiers and priests had explored the Colorado 
river for a considerable distance above its mouth. 
The stories of a gigantic people, walled towns, and 
impassable canons a mile or more in depth, were con- 
signed to the same fate as the stories of mermaids 
and other sea monsters. Cervantes in Spain, and 
Dean Swift in England, had poured unsparing ridi- 
cule on the fabulous stories and achievements of the 
age succeeding the discovery of America. Since the 
exploring expedition sent out by the United States, 
the accounts of the great Colorado river have been 
overhauled and read with avidity, and what was 
then deemed a pleasant after-dinner fiction of some 
bibulous priest, has proved to be substantially cor- 
rect, though the Mojaves, who, doubtless, arc the 
persons described as giants, do not quite come up to 
their ancestors of three hundred and fifty years ago. 

As early as 1540 the Viceroy of New Spain, inter- 
ested in the stories of a San Franciscan monk who 
had seen some of the territory, sent out an expedi- 
tion under the command of Vasqucz de Coronado. 
When they struck the river, a party of twenty-five 
was detached and sent to the westward. They 
explored the river to the mouth, and from this point 
was sent the expedition which eventually succeeded 

in discovering the bay. Another of Coronado's 
captains, named Cardinas, reached the pueblos of 
the Moquis, and from these towns made a visit, 
under Indian guides, to a portion of the river some 
hundreds of miles above the explorations of pre- 
vious parties. The history states that after a march 
over a desert of twenty days, they came to a river, 
the banks of which were so high that they seemed 
to be three or four leagues in the air. The most 
active of the party attempted to descend, but came 
back in the evening, saying they had met with dif- 
ficulties which prevented them from reaching the 
bottom; that they had accomplished one-third of the 
descent, and from that point the river looked very 
large. They averred that some rocks, which ap- 
peared from above to be the height of a man, were 
higher than the tower of the cathedral of Seville. 
This is the earliest notice in any work of the cele- 
brated canon of the Colorado, the most astonishing 
of all mountain gorges, and which may, without 
doubt, be reckoned the greatest wonder of the world. 


About one hundred years ago, Father Escalante 
visited the region north of New Mexico, keeping 
along the head-waters of the Colorado to Salt Lake, 
thence south-west to the Colorado river at a point 
nearly opposite that reached by one of Coronado's 
captains over two hundred years before. This mea- 
ger account of the great canon is about all that is 
on record previous to the acquisition of Arizona by 
the United States, though trappers and hunters 
sometimes related incredible stories of a country 
where great rivers ran in canons so deep that day- 
light never reached the bottom. As this river forms 
a part of the boundary of California, and was, to a 
great extent, from its unapproachable character, a 
barrier to the early settlement of this coast, thus 
perhaps preserving it for its present occupants, and 
as it has recently become a center of interest on 
account of the mines in its vicinity, a somewhat 
extended account of this remarkable, and, even now, 
little known wonder may be justifiable, and will bo 
incorporated into the work in a separate chapter. 


Lieutenant Whipple's Expedition — Lieutenant Ives' Expedi- 
tion — First Attempt to Explore the Canon — Land Party 
Organized — One Sight of the Eiver — First Exploration — 
Unwilling Venture — Consider the Situation— Death of One 
of the Parties — Three Months in the Canon — Arrival at 
Fort Colville — Exploration Made Under the Direction of 
the Smithsonian Institute — Indescribable Character of the 
Stream — Loss of Boats and Provisions — Death of a Portion 
of the Party — Emergence of the Survivors — Geology and 


In the Spring of 1854 Lieutenant Whipple in com- 
mand of an expedition for the exploration and sur- 
vey of a railroad route near the 35th parallel, reached 
the Colorado at the mouth of Bill Williams' Fork, and 








ascended the river from that point about fifty miles and 
reported the country as mostly impassable. From 
an elevated point a view of an apparent valley or 
course of a river could be seen, which seemed to be a 
net- work of impassable canons. This partial explo- 
ration still further intensified the interest in this 
region. That any portion of the United States was 
unapproachable was too absurd to credit. 


It was not until 1857 that an appropriation became 
available for further exploration. A small steamer 
was constructed for the purpose of ascendingthe river 
and shipped to San Francisco in parts, and thence re- 
shipped to Fort Yuma, where it was put together. 
When loaded it drew somewhat less than two feet of 
water, and the river was ascended four hundred and 
fifty miles above Fort Yuma. Sometimes the little 
craft was nearly over-whelmed in the treacherous cur- 
rents and sometimes the men were obliged to tow the 
steamer over shoals where it would touch bottom 
continually. Bands of natives would follow the 
boat, hugely amused with the puffing, snorting canoe 
that was, apparently, so helpless and good for noth- 
ing. At length the party came in sight of the 
much talked of canon, of which so little was known 
and so much conjectured. The enormous, perpendicu- 
lar walls of rocks, hundreds of feet high, which had 
formed the banks of the rivers in many places, had 
prepared them for wonders, but they did not ex- 
pect to see a large river come out of a gate-way two 
thousand feet high and only a few feet across. If 
the ancients had known of this place they would have 
added new horrors to their infernal regions. 


The attempt to navigate the canon with the steamer 
without a previous reconnoissance was thought too 
hazardous, and a boat expedition was organized. 
Lieutenant Ives with three or four men entered the 
dark gateway. With much labor they worked their 
way, sometimes rowing and sometimes dragging the 
boat over rapids. Night coming on, the party took* 
advantage of a small shingle beach for a camping place. 
Some drift-wood lodged in a cleft of rocks furnished 
material for a camp fire. There was no need of 
sentinels. Eternal silence reigned ; not even the 
chirping of an insect broko the low murmer of the 
waters as they wound their tortuous way thi*ough 
the dark depths. We quote freely from his report 
to the Secretary of War : — 

" March 10, 1858. * * * Darkness supervened 
with surprising suddenness. Pall after pall of shade 
fell, as it were in clouds, upon the deep recesses 
about us. The line of light through the opening 
above at last became blurred and indistinct, and, 
save the dull red glare of the camp fire, all was 
enveloped in a murky gloom. Soon the narrow 
belt again brightened as the rays of the moon 
reached the summits of the mountains. Gazing far 
upwards upon the edges of the overhanging walls 
we witnessed the gradual illumination. A few iso- 
lated turrets and pinnacles first appeared in strong- 

relief upon the blue band of the heavens. As the 
silvery light descended and fell irpon the opposite 
crest of the abyss, strange and uncouth shapes seem 
to start out, all sparkling and blinking in the light, 
and to be peering over at us as we lay watching 
them from the bottom of the profound chasm. The 
contrast between the vivid glow above and the black 
obscurity beneath, formed one of the most striking 
points in the singular picture. This morning as soon 
as the light permitted, we were again on the way. 
* * * The canon continued to in- 

crease in size and magnificence. No description can 
convey an idea of the peerless and majestic grandeur 
of this water-way. Wherever the river makes a turn 
the entire panorama changes, and one startling nov- 
elty after another appears and disappears with be- 
wildering rapidity. Stately facades, august cathedrals, 
amphitheatres, rotundas, castellated walls and rows 
of time-stained ruins surmounted by every form of 
tower, minaret, dome and spire have been moulded 
from the Cyclopean masses of rock that form the 
mighty defile. The solitude, the stillness, the sub- 
dued light and the vastness of every surrounding 
object, produced an impression of awe that ultimately 
became almost painful. As hour after hour passed, 
we began to look anxiously for some kind of an out- 
let from the range, but the declining day only 
brought fresh piles of mountains, higher apparently 
than any before seen. We had made up our minds 
to pass another night in the canon and were search- 
ing for a spot large enough for a resting place, when 
we came into a narrow passage between two mam- 
moth peaks that seemed to be nodding across the 
stream, and unexpectedly found at the upper end the 
termination of the ' Black Canon,' and we came 
into rather of an extensive valley, Avithout a trace of 
vegetation however; but the hills and mountains 
around were in parti-colors and prevented the scene 
from being monotonous. The length of the Black 
Cation is about twenty-five miles. It was evident 
that the river could be navigated no farther. Climb- 
ing a mountain nothing but a confused mass of vol- 
canic rocks piled in confusion upon each other came 
to view. * * * Farther to the east could be 
seen the course of the river where it formed the 
Big Canon." 


The exploring party returned to the steamboat 
and organized an expedition to explore the river on 
the south side towards the Bocky Mountains, and the 
boat was sent back to Fort Yuma. In a few days 
they struck the lofty plateau, through which the 
Colorado river with its numerous tributaries, or com- 
panion rivers, carry the waters formed from the 
melting snows of the Bocky Mountains. Scarcely 
any rain falls on this elevated plain, and the banks of 
the rivers remain as sharp as they were millions of 
years ago when the channels were first eroded. Cen- 
tury after century the work of deepening the channel 
goes on. Before the children of Israel went down in- 
to Egypt; before the building of the Pyramids; before 
the rude ancestors of the Egyptians found the Nile 
valley ; even before the Nile valley itself was formed 
the Colorado rivers had done the most of their work. 
It was out of the question to explore the river. 
They could only approach it at one point. Only the 
bird that could wing its way. for hundreds of miles, 



could make its way over these cavernous depths thai 
marked the course of the river and all its branches. 
From elevated points they could see table-land, 
rising, base on base, height on height, with impassa- 
ble canons between. As the limits of this work will 
permit only an abbreviated description of the inter- 
esting exploration, an account of one attempt to reach 
the river, giving nearly the author's own words, 
which cannot be condensed witbout doing injustice 
to the subject, will close tbe story of this expedition. 


" Oar altitude is very great. During the last 
march the ascent was continuous, and the barome- 
ter shows an elevation of nearly seven thousand 
feet. The Colorado is not far distant, and we must 
be opposite to the most stupendous part of the 
'Dig Canon.' Tbe bluffs arc in view, but the inter- 
vening country is cut up by side canons and cross 
ravines, and no place has j'et been found that pre- 
sents a favorable approach to the gigantic chasm. * 
* * Tbe snow-storm (this was in tbe "Winter) had 
extended over but little area, and the road, at first 
bcavy, in a mile or two became diy and good. The 
pines disappeared and the cedars gradually dimin- 
ished. * * * Each slope surmounted disclosed a 
new summit similar to that just passed, till the end 
of ten miles, wben the bigbest part of tbe plateau 
was attained, and a sublime spectacle lay spread 
before us. 

" Toward tbe north was the field of plateaus and 
canons already mentioned, and shooting out from 
these a line of magnificent bluffs, extending eastward 
an enormous distance, marked tbe course of the 
canon of the Little Colorado. Farther south, eighty 
miles distant, towered the vast pile of the San Fran- 
cisco mountain, its conical summit covered with 
snow and sharply defined against the sky. Several 
other peaks were visible a little to tbe right, and 
halfway between us and this cluster of mighty and 
venerable volcanos was the ' Red Butte,' described 
by Lieutenant Whipple (1853), standing in isolated 
prominence upon the level plain. * * * 

" The sun was oppressively warm, and every place 
whose appearance gave promise of water was 
searched, but without success. Ten miles conducted 
us to the head of a ravine, down which there was a 
well-beaten Indian trail. There was every prospect 
therefore that we were approaching a settlement, 
similar to that of the Hualpais, on Diamond river. 
The descent was more rapid than the former had 
been, and in the course of a few miles we had gone 
down into the plateau one or two thousand feet, 
and the bluffs on either side had- assumed stupendous 
proportions. Still no signs of habitations were vis- 
ible. The worn-out and thirsty beasts bad begun 
to flag when we were brought to a stand-still by a 
fall one hundred feet deep in the bottom of the canon. 
At the brink of the precipice was an overhanging 
ledge of rock, from which we could look down, as if 
into a well, upon the continuation of the gorge far 
below. The break reached completely across the 
ravine, and the side walls were nearly perpendicular. 
There was no egress in that direction, and it seemed 
a marvel that a trail should lead to a place where 
there was notbing to do but return. A closer inspec- 
tion showed that the trail still continued along the 
canon, traversing horizontally the face of the right- 
hand bluff. A short distance of it seemed as though 
a mountain goat could scarcely keep its footing upon 

the slight indentation that appeared like a thread 
attached to the rocky wall, but a trial proved that 
the path, though narrow and dizzy, had been cut 
with some care into the- surface of the cliff, and afforded 
afoot-hold, level and broad enough both for men and 
animals. 1 rode upon it first, and the rest of the 
party and the train followed— one by one — looking 
very much like a row of insects crawling upon the 
side of a building. We proceeded for nearly a mile 
along this singular pathway, which preserved its 
horizontal direction. 'i'hc bottom of the canon 
meanwhile had been rapidly descending, and there 
were two or three falls where it dropped a hundred 
feet at a time, thus greatly increasing the depth of 
the chasm. The change had taken place so gradu- 
ally that I was not sensible of it, till, glancing down 
the side of my mule, I found that be was walking 
within three inches of the edge of the brink of a 
sheer gulf a thousand feet deep; on the other side, 
nearly touching my knee, was an almost vertical 
wall rising to an enormous altitude. The sight made 
my head swim, and I dismounted and got ahead of 
the mule, a difficult and delicate operation, which I 
was thankful to bave safely performed. A part of 
the men became so giddy that they were obliged to 
creep upon their hands and knees, being unable to 
walk or stand. In some places there was barely 
room to walk, and a slight deviation in a step would 
have precipitated one into the frightful abyss. 1 was 
a good deal alarmed lest some obstacle should be 
encountered that Avould make it impossible to go 
ahead, for it was certainly impracticable to return. 
After an interval of uncomfortable suspense, the face 
of the rock made an angle, and just beyond the 
angle was a projection from the main Avail with a 
surface fifteen or twenty yards square that would 
afford afoot-hold. The continuation of the wall was 
perfectly vertical, so that the trail could no longer 
follow it, and we found that the path descended the 
steep face of the cliff to the bottom of the canon. It 
was a desperate road to traverse, but located with a 
good deal of skill, zigzaging down the precipice, and 
taking advantage of every crevice and fissure that 
could afford a foot-hold. It did not take long to 
discover that no mule could accomplish tbis descent, 
and nothing remained but to turn back. We were 
glad to have even this privilege in our power. The 
jaded brutes were collected upon the little summit, 
where they could be turned around, and then com- 
menced to return from the hazardous journey. The 
sun shone directly into the cafion, and the glare 
reflected from the walls made the heat intolerable. 
The disappointed beasts, now two days without 
water, with glassy eyes and protruding tongues, plod- 
ded slowly along, uttering tbe most melancholy 
cries. The nearest water, of which we had any 
knowledge, was almost thirty miles distant. There 
was but one chance of saving the train, and after 
reaching an open portion of the ravine the packs 
and saddles were removed, and two or three Mexi- 
cans started for the lagoons, mounted upon the least 
exhausted animals and driving the others loose be- 
fore them. It was somewhat dangerous to detach 
them thus from the main party but there was no help 
for it. Some of the mules will give out before the 
night march is over, but the knowedge that they 
are on the road to water will enable the most of 
them to reach it in spite of their weariness and the 
length of the way. 

" It was estimated that, at this point which was 
within a few miles of the main canon, about one-half 
of the original plain had been cutaway by the action 
of the river and its branches. 



" A party was made up to explore the canon. The 
distance to the precipice where the mules were turned 
back was about five miles. The precipice was de- 
scended without difficulty, though in one or two places 
the path traversed smooth, inclined plains that 
made the footing insecure and the crossing danger- 
ous. The bottom of the canon which from the sum- 
mit looked smooth, was found to be covered with 
small hills thirty or forty feet high. Along the mid- 
dle of the canon started another one with low walls 
at the starting point, which became lofty precipices 
as the base of the new ravine sunk deeper and deeper 
into the earth. Along the bottom of this gorge we 
followed the trail, distinctly seen when the surface 
was not composed of rocks. Every few minutes low 
falls and ledges were met with, which we had to 
jump or slide down, till a formidable number 
of obstacles were to be met in returning. Like 
other canons this was circuitous, and at each turn we 
expected to find something new and startling. We 
were deeper in the bowels of the earth than we had 
ever been before, and surrounded by walls and tow- 
ers of such imposing dimensions that it would be 
useless to attempt describing them; but the effects of 
magnitude had begun to pall, and the walk from the 
foot of the precipice was monotonously dull; no sign 
of life could be discerned above or below. At the end 
of thirteen miles from the precipice an obstacle pre- 
sented itself that there seemed to be no possibility of 
overcoming. A stone slab, reaching from one side 
of the canon to the other, terminated the plain 
which we were descending. Looking over the 
edge it appeared that the next level was forty 
feet below. This time there was no trail along 
the side of the bluffs, for these were smooth and 
perpendicular. A spring of water rose from the 
cafion above and trickled over the precipice, 
forming a beautiful cascade. It was supposed 
that the Indians must have come to this point merely 
to procure water; but this theory was not satisfac- 
tory and we sat down to consider the situation. 

"Mr. Egloffstein lay down by the side of the creek, 
and projecting his head over the ledge to watch the 
cascade discovered a solution to the mystery. Below 
the shelving rock, and hidden by it and the tall, stood 
a crazy -looking ladder, made of rough sticks bound 
together with thongs of bark. It was almost per- 
pendicular and rested upon a bed of angular stones. 
The rounds had become rotten from the incessant flow 
of the water. Mr. Egloffstein, anxious to have the 
first view of what was below, scrambled over the 
rock and got his feet upon the first round. Being a 
soiid weight, he was too much for the insecure fabric, 
which commenced giving away. One side fortunately 
stood firm, and holding on to this with a tight grip 
he made a precipitate descent. The other side and 
all the rounds broke loose and accompanied him to 
the bottom in a general crash, effectually cutting off 
the communication. Leaving us to devise means of 
getting him back he ran to the bend to explore. The 
bottom of the canon had been reached. He found 
that he was at the edge of a stream ten or fifteen 
yards wide fringed with cottonwoods and willows. 
The walls of the canon spread out for a short distance 
leaving room for a narrow belt of bottom-land on 
which were fields of corn and a few scattered huts. 
It was impossible to follow the stream to its union 
with the main river, which was not far off. Nor could 
a situation be found where a complete view of the 
great canon might be obtained; at one spot the top 
could be seen, at another the bottom. Measurements 
were taken which showed the walls of the canon to 
be over six thousand feet in height." 

Notwithstanding all the efforts backed by money 
and government the great canon was not entered, 
at least from the side. The parties safely made their 
way out of the chasm, and resumed their journey 
towards Fort Defiance, finding on their way the 
towns of stone houses which the early Spanish ex- 
plorers saw and which had since remained unknown 
and mostly forgotten. 


Some of my readers may inquire whether this 
canon has never been explored? Twice only of 
which any record has been found. Some time in the 
sixties, three men, prospecting on the head-waters of 
the river in the Colorado Territory, fell into a diffi- 
culty with the Indians. Two succeeded in reaching 
their boats, and escaped by rowing swiftly down the 
stream, the swift current and bold banks facilitating 
their flight. When they had gone so far as to feel 
secure from pursuit, and took time to consider the 
situation, they found themselves floating in a 
stream, so swift as to prevent their return, even if 
they desired it, and with banks so precipitous as to 
make escape in that direction impossible. The stream 
became swifter and the banks or walls of the canon 
higher every hour. 


A council of war was held, and all evidence at- 
tainable was considered. The questions put forth in 
one of Addison's essays a hundred and fifty years 
ago, " Where am I ? What sort of place do I in- 
habit ?" seemed particularly applicable to the situa- 
tion. As to the first question, they could only say, 
we are in "Uncle Sam's" dominion, and as to the 
last, it is a " hell of a place." One of them remem- 
bered of hearing some old trappers, while sitting 
around a camp fire near Salt Lake, tell a story of a 
great river that was lost in a range of mountains 
and flowed hundreds of miles under ground. An- 
other said that it did not flow under ground, but in a 
narrow channel thousands of feet in. depth, so deep 
that daylight never reached the bottom. None of 
them, however, had ever seen the river under these 
circumstances. The Indians believed, some of them 
at least, that the deep gorge led to Heaven, and 
others thought it led to Hell ! It was certain that 
the route- to the blessed regions would not go through 
any such country as they were passing ; and as to 
the latter place, had not Beecher knocked the bottom 
out of it? So they concluded to go on ; in fact, there 
was no other alternative. About the third day they 
heard a great roaring of falling water, and before 
they had time to consider were plunged over a cat- 
aract, that proved not a very high one, for though 
the boat was smashed, they saved their lives by 
swimming to an island at the foot of the falls, 
and were able to save most of their provisions. 
They now constructed a raft of dry, cotton -wood 
logs, which they found lodged high up on the island, 
and continued their voyage. 




Falls and rapids being now frequent, and the 
plunges often throwing them off their craft, they 
imprudently lashed themselves to it. Passing the 
next cataract the raft was upsot, and one of the two 
was lost. The survivor found himself on the raft, 
now bottom side up, though entirely ignorant as to 
how he succeeded in disengaging himself while under 
the water. 

Day after day, week after week, until the weeks 
became months, he floated down the river, encoun- 
tering many obstacles but escaping with his life. 
The river was destitute of fish or animals, but in 
places ho found the mesquite bean Avhich would sus- 
tain life. Months afterward a soldier at Fort Col- 
ville saw a log floating in the river appearing to have 
come out of the canon. The unusual circumstance 
caused him to turn a telescope upon it. " My (rod !" 
said he, "there is a man on that log! I" A boat 
was dispatched, and the man was brought ashore, 
nearly famished, speechless, naked, and his body cov- 
ered with sores. After some nourishment had been 
taken, he was able to say that he had come through 
the great canon. The man recovered, and for many 
years afterward drove a stage in Arizona. 


The Government of the United States during these 
years had enough business on hand without attending 
to expeditions in the cause of science, for, so far, the 
river had no value. But the Smithsonian Institute 
undertook the exploration of the river. Lieutenant 
Powell, an eminent scientist and explorer, was sent 
out to gather all the information about it that was 
possible. The transcontinental railroad now made 
the matter easier. He interviewed the trappers and 
hunters at Salt Lake and Fort Bridger ; visited 
Arizona, and heard all that the stage-driver could re- 
member, and went East to make preparations for the 
descent of the river. The scientific public were now 
aroused, and many were anxious to accompany the 
expedition. Several boats were made in water-tight 
compartments, so contrived as to float though they 
might be stove. Provisions, instruments and all nec- 
essary articles were inclosed in water-tight, rubber 
bags. On the 24th of May, 1869, he left the line of 
the Union Pacific Railroad at the Green River Sta- 
tion. Those who love to read of the grand, the pictur- 
esque, the terrible, will find their satisfaction in reading 
" Powell's Explorations of the Colorado Canon." The 
limits of this book will only permit a short account 
of the trip which was full of dangers as well as 
pleasure. They passed safely down the upper waters. 
Some hundred miles below the starting-point, the 
labor commenced. Sometimes the river would zig- 
zag between metamorphic slates and granite spurs, 
making a channel like a line of saw teeth ; then it 
would leave the granite and cut a vast amphitheatre 
in the sandstone, miles across and thousands of feet 

high. Towers, domes, castles, minarets, and all the 
forms of ancient and modern architecture seemed 
anticipated. Even sculpture was not forgotten, for 
in many places gigantic figures seemed to be guard- 
ing the great canon, and threatening to overwhelm 
all who should dare to invade the ancient solitude. 
For months the party continued their voyage. Not- 
withstanding their ample preparations, it was nearly 
a failure. They lost their boats and most of their 
provisions, as well as their scientific instruments. 
They were uncertain whether the canon was threo, 
four, or five hundred miles long. When nearly 
through it was proposed to leave the river and try 
to ascend its banks. It was urged that more rapids 
on the junction of the granite and slate would end 
the expedition. Part of the men determined to try 
to scale the walls. They were given a part of the 
scant provisions, and also a copy of the records of 
the trip. Both parties bid each other " good- 
bye," with the firm belief that the other was 
destined to certain destruction. Powell remained 
with the party to continue down the river, hoping 
that if he perished some record of their trip would 
be picked up on the lower river or the Gulf of Cal- 
ifornia. His judgment proved the best. August 30th 
he emerged from the canon, in somewhat better 
plight than the stage-driver did, having witnessed 
undoubtedly the greatest wonder of the world. 
Nothing was heard of the other party for years. A 
prospector brought the news that they scaled the 
walls of the canon, but were soon afterwards killed by 
the Indians, being mistaken for a party of white men 
who had committed an outrage on an Indian woman 


The Colorado river drains a territory of three 
hundred thousand square miles. A portion of this, 
eight hundred miles in extent, resting on the Rocky 
Mountains, is fed by snows, and has numerous rivers 
which, with all their branches, form canons — one 
leading into another and all finally merging into the 
grand gorge, six thousand feet deep and three hund- 
red miles long. The lower part of the Colorado for 
one thousand miles runs through an almost rainless 
country. There is no wearing away of the banks into 
the rounded, graceful forms so usual in the vicinities of 
rivers. The channels of the rivers being so deep 
the country is thoroughly drained of water, and 
very few springs emerge from the surface. The soil 
is consequently destitute of vegetation. There are 
evidences, however, of an extensive alluvial deposit, 
of a time when the river meandered through fertile 
plains like the Mississippi. The elephant, the mas- 
todon, and their contemporaries wandered in herds 
over suitable pastures where now desolation reigns. 

It is difficult to estimate the influence which this 
strange system of rivers has exerted over California. 
Had not the early explorers when in search of gold 
met this obstruction, our mines would have been 
discovered and worked, and California would have 


twompSo.-i s, v,;r5r . i-ue. OAKLAND, OAL. 



been cursed with the blight that has covered all the 
Spanish possessions. It was reserved for a more 
vigorous race to develop. 

The climatic influence is also great. It is now be- 
lieved that our dry, desicating north winds find 
their way from the Arizona deserts, and that the 
particles of red dust with which our summer atmos- 
phere is loaded, is finely-pulverized Ai'izona soil. 


The Exiles of Loreto — Father Tierra's Methods of Conversion — 
Death of Father Tierra — Arrest of the Jesuits — Midnight 
Parting — Permanent Occupation of California — Missions in 
Charge of Francisco Friars — Character of Father Junipero — 
Exploring Expeditions — Origin of the name of the Bay- 
Mission Dolores — Death of Father Junipero. 

It was the custom of the Spanish Government to 
send out a certain number of Christian missionaries 
with each expedition, whether for discovery or con- 
quest. When the conquerors took possession of a 
new territory, in the name of the King of Spain, the 
accompanying Fathers also claimed it for the spirit- 
ual empire of the Holy Church, and in this manner 
California became, at once, the possession of both 
Church and State, by right of discovery and con- 

As before stated, California was discovered in 
1534, by an expedition which Cortez had caused to 
be fitted out in the inland seas of Tehuantepec. 
From that time, during a period of one hundred and 
fifty years, some twenty maritime expeditions sailed 
successively from the shores of New Spain to the 
coast of California, with the object of perfecting 
its conquest; but none of them obtained any satis- 
faetory result, beyond an imperfect knowledge of the 
geographical situation of the country. The barren 
aspect of the coast, and the nakedness and poverty 
of the savages, who lived in grottoes, caves, and holes 
in the ground, clearly indicated that they had scarcely 
advanced beyond the primitive condition of man, 
and discouraged the adventurers, who were in search 
of another country like Mexico, abounding in natural 
wealth, and the appliances of a rude civilization. 
After the expenditure of immense sums of both pub- 
lic and private wealth, the permanent settlement of 
California was despaired of. The Spanish Govern- 
ment would advance no more money, private enter- 
prise was turned in another direction, and it was 
decided to give over the, so far, fruitless experiment 
to the Fathers of the church. Many attempts had 
been made to Christianize the natives of the Pacific 
coast. Cortez is said to have had several ecclesias- 
tics in his train, though there is no account of their 
having attempted to convert the natives, or even of 
landing among them. The first recorded attempt 
was made about the beginning of the year 1596 by 
four San Francisco friars, who came with Yis- 
caifio's expedition. During their stay of t\vo months 
at La Paz, they visited many of the Indians, who 
thought them children of the sun, and treated them 

very kindly. Three Carmelite friars also came with 
Viscaino's third expedition in 1602, two Jesuit mis- 
sionaries in 1648, two Franciscans in 1688, and three 
Jesuits in 1683, the latter with the expedition of 
Admiral Otondo. The celebrated Father Kiihno 
was one who came with the latter expedition. Once, 
when attempting to explain the doctrine of the res- 
urrection to the savages, he was at loss for a word to 
express his meaning. He put some flies under the 
water until they appeared to be dead, and then 
exposed them to the rays of the sun, when 
they revived. The Indians cried out in astonish- 
ment, "I bimuhueite ! I bimuhueite !'.' which the 
Fathers understood as "they have come to life," the 
expression he wanted, and applied it to the resurrec- 
tion of the Redeemer. 

No substantial success was, however, achieved 
until about 1675. Then appeared the heroic apostle 
of California civilization, Father John Salva Tierra, 
of the Society of Jesus, commonly called Jesuits. 

Father Tierra, the founder, and afterwards visita- 
dore of the missions of California, was a native of 
Milan, born of noble parentage and Spanish ances- 
try, in 1644. Having completed his education at 
Parma, he joined the order of Jesuits, and went as a 
missionary to Mexico in 1675. He was robust in 
health, exceedingly handsome in person, resolute of 
will, highly talented, and full of religious zeal. For 
several years he conducted the missions of Sonora 
successfully, when he was recalled to Mexico in con- 
sequence of his great ability and singular virtues, 
and was employed in the chief offices of the provin- 
ces. After ten years of ineffectual solicitation, he 
obtained permission of the Viceroy to go to Cali- 
fornia, for the purpose of converting the inhabitants, 
on condition that the possession of land should be 
taken in the name of the King of Spain, without his 
being called on to contribute anything towards the 
expenses of the expedition. Tierra associated with 
himself the Jesuit Father, Juan Ugarte, a native of 
Honduras. On the 10th of October, 1697, they 
sailed from the port of Yaqui, in Sonora, for Lower 
California, and, after encountering a disastrous 
storm, and suffering partial shipwreck on the gulf, 
landed, on the 19th of that month, at San Bruno, 
at Saint Dennis bay. Not finding that place suitable 
for their purpose, the Fathers removed to St. Dyon- 
issius, afterwards named Loreto, and there setup the 
sign of civilization and Christianity on its lonely 
shore. Thus Loreto, on the east side of the penin- 
sula, in latitude 25° 35' north of the equator, may be 
considered the Plymouth Rock of the Pacific coast. 
This historic and memorable expedition consisted of 
only two ships and nine men, being a corporal, five 
private soldiers, three Indians, the captain of the 
vessel, and the two Fathers. 

On the 19th of October, 1697, the little party of 
adventurers went ashore at Loreto, and were kindly 
received by about fifty natives, who were induced to 
kneel down and kiss the crucifix. 




It is said of Father Ugarte that he was a man of 
powerful frame. When he first celebrated the cere- 
monials of the church before the natives they were 
inclined to jeer and laugh over solemnities. On one 
occasion a huge Indian was causing considerable dis- 
turbance, and was demoralizing the other Indians 
with his mimicry and childish fun. Father Ugarte 
caught him by his long hair, swung him around a 
few times, threw him in a heap on the floor, and 
proceeded with the rites. This argument had a 
converting effect, as he never rebelled again. As 
the conversion of the natives was the main object of 
the settlement, and a matter of the greatest impor- 
tance, to the natives at least, no meanswere spared to 
effect it. When the natives around the mission had 
been Christianized, expeditions inland were under- 
taken to capture more material for converts. Some- 
times many lives were taken, but they generally suc- 
ceeded in gathering in from fifty to a hundred women 
and children, the men afterwards following. Two 
or three days' exhortation (confinement and starva- 
tion) was generally sufficient to effect a change of 
heart, after which the convert was clothed, fed, and 
put to work. Father Ugarte worked with them, 
teaching them to plant, sow, reap, and thresh, and 
they were soon good Christians. 

The imposing ceremonies and visible symbols of 
the Catholic church are well calculated to strike the 
ignorant savage with awe. Striking results were 
often attained with pictures. When moving from 
one mission to another, and especially when meeting 
strange Indians, the priests exhibited a picture of 
the Virgin Mary on one side of a canvas, and Satan 
roasting in flames on the other side. They were 
offered a choice, to become subjects of the Holy 
Mother, or roast in the flames with Satan, and gen- 
erally accepted the former, especially as it was accom- 
panied with food. 


After twenty years of earnest labor, privation, 
danger, and spiritual success, Father Tierra was 
recalled to Mexico by the new Viceroy, for consul- 
tation. He was then seventy years old; and, not- 
withstanding his age and infirmities, he set out on 
horseback from San Bias for Tepic; but, having 
fainted by the way, he was carried on a litter by the 
Indians to Guadalajara, where he died July 17, 1717, 
and was buried with appropriate ceremonies behind 
the altar in the chapel of our Lady of Loreto. 

The historic village of Loreto, the ancient capital 
of California, is situated on the margin of the gulf, 
in the center of St. Dy onissius' Cove. The church, 
built in 1742, is still in tolerable preservation, and, 
among the vestiges of its former richness, has eighty- 
six oil paintings; some of them by Murillo, and other 
celebrated masters, which, though more than a hun- 
dred years old, are still in a good condition; also 

some fine silver work, valued at six thousand dol- 
lars. A greal storm in 1827 destroyed many of the 
buildings of the mission. Those remaining, are in 
a state of decay. It was the former custom of the 
pearl-divers to dedicate the products of certain days 
to Our Lady of Loreto; and, on one occasion, there 
fell to the lot of the Virgin a magnificent pearl, as 
largo as a pigeon's egg, of wonderful purity and 
brilliancy. The Fathers thought proper to change 
its destination, and presented it to the Queen of 
Spain, who gratefully and piously sent Our Lady of 
Loreto a magnificent new gown. Some people were 
unkind enough to think the queen had the better of 
the transaction. 


The Jesuits continued their missionary work in 
Lower California for seventy years. On the second 
day of April, 1797, all of the Order throughout the 
Spanish dominions, at home and abroad, were ar- 
rested by order of Charles III., and thrown into 
prison, on the charge of conspiring against the State 
and the life of the king. Nearly six thousand were 
subjected to that decree, which also directed their 
expulsion from California, as well as all other colo- 
nial dependencies of Spain. The execution of the 
despotic order was intrusted to Don Gaspar Portala, 
the Governor of the province. Having assembled 
the Fathers of Loreto on the eve of the nativity, 
December 24th, he acquainted them with the heart- 
breaking news. Whatever may have been the 
faults of the Jesuits in Europe, they certainly had 
been models of devoted Christians in the new world. 
They braved the dangers of hostile savages, ex- 
posed themselves to the malarious fevers incident 
to new countries, and had taken up their residences 
far from the centers of civilization and thought, so 
dear to men of cultivated minds, to devote them- 
selves, soul and body, to the salvation of the natives, 
that all civilized nations seemed bent on extermin- 
ating. It is probable that the simple-minded son 
of the forest understood little of the mysteries of 
theology; and his change of heart was more a 
change of habit, than the adoption of any saving 
religious dogma. They abandoned many of their 
filthy habits, and learned to respect the family ties. 
They were taught to cultivate the soil, to build com- 
fortable houses, and to cover their nakedness with 
garments. They had learned to love and revere 
the Fathers, who were ever kind to them. 


After seventy years of devoted attention to the 
savages; after building pleasant homes in the wilder- 
ness, and surrounding themselves with loving and 
devoted friends, they received the order to depart. 
They took their leave on the night of February 3, 
1768, amidst the outcries and lamentations of the 
people, who, in spite of the soldiers, who could not 
keep them back, rushed upon the departing Fathers, 



kissing their bands, and clinging convulsively to 
them. The leave-taking was brief, but affecting: 
"Adieu, my dear children! Adieu, land of our adop- 
tion! Adieu, California! It is the will of God!" 
And then, amid the sobs and lamentations, heard all 
along the shore, they turned away, reciting the 
litany of the Blessed Mother of God, and were seen 
no more. 

For one hundred and sixty years after the dis- 
covery of California, it remained comparatively un- 
known. It is true that many expeditions were 
fitted out .to explore it for gold and precious stones. 
The first was fast locked in mountains of* the Sierras, 
which were occupied by bands of hostile and war- 
like Indians; and the last have not yet been found. 
The circumstances attending the discovery of the 
great bay, will always be of interest, and deserve a 
place in every record; for up tO 1769. no navigator 
ever turned the prow of his vessel into the narrow 
entrance of the Golden Gate. 

On the expulsion of the Jesuits from Lower Cali- 
fornia, the property of the missions, consisting oi 
extensive houses, flocks, pasture lands, cultivated 
fields, orchards, and vineyards, was intrusted to the 
College of San Francisco in Mexico, for the benefit 
of the Order of St. Francis. The zealous scholar, 
Father Junipero Serra, was appointed to the charge 
of all the missions of Lower California. 

Father Junipero, as he was called, was born of 
humble parents in the island of Majorca, on the 24th 
of November, 1713. Like the prophet Samuel, he 
was dedicated to the priesthood from his infancy, 
and having completed- his studies in the Convent of 
San Bernardino, he conceived the idea of devoting 
himself to the immediate service of God; and went 
from thence to Palma, the capital of the province, 
to acquire the higher learning necessary for the 
priesthood. At his earnest request, he was received 
into the Order of St. Francis, at the age of sixteen; 
and, at the end of one year's probation, made his 
religious profession, September 15, 1731. Having 
finished his studies in philosophy and theology, he 
soon acquired a high rejmtation as a writer and 
orator, and his services were sought for in every 
direction; but, while enjoying these distinctions at 
home, his heart was set on his long projected mission 
to the heathen of the New World. He sailed from 
Cadiz for America, August 28, 1749, and landed at 
Vera Cruz, whence he went to the City of Mexico, 
joined the College of San Fernando, and was made 
President of* the missions of Sierra Gorda and San 
Saba. On his appointment to the missions of Cali- 
fornia, he immediately entered upon active duties, 
and' proceeded to carry out his grand design of the 
civilization of the Pacific coast. Acting under the 
instructions of the Viceroy of Mexico, two expedi- 
tions were fitted out to explore and colonize Upper 
or Northern California, of which little or nothing 
was known, one of which was to proceed by sea, 
and the other by land; one to carry the heavy sup- 

plies, the other to drive the flocks and herds. The 
first ship, the San Carlos, left Cape St. Lucas, in 
Lower California, January 9, 1769, and was followed 
by the San Antonio on the 15th of* the same month. 
A third vessel, the San Jose, was dispatched from 
Loreto on the 16th of June. After much suffering, 
these real pioneers of California civilization, reached 
San Diego; the San Carlos, on the 1st of May; the 
San Antonio, on the 11th of April, 1769, the ci-ews 
having been well nigh exhausted by scurvy, thirst, 
and starvation. After leaving Loreto, the San Jose 
was never heard of more. 


The overland expedition was divided into two 
divisions; one under command of Don Gaspar de 
Portala, the appointed Military Governor of the New 
Territory; the other, under Capt. Rivera Y. Moncado. 
Rivera and his company, consisting of Father Crespi, 
twenty -five soldiers, six muleteers, and a party of 
Lower California Indians, started from Villaceta on 
the 24th of March, and reached San Diego on the 
14th of May, 1769. Up to that time, no white man 
had ever lived in Upper California; and then began 
to rise the morning star of our civilization. 

The second division, accompanied by Father 
Junipero, organized the first mission in Upper 
California on the 16th of July, 1769; and there the 
first native Californian was baptized on the 26th of 
December, of that year. These are memorable 
points in the ecclesiastical history of this coast. 

On the 14th of July, 1769, Governor Portala 
started out in search of Monterey, as described 
by previous navigators. He was accompanied by 
Fathers Juan Crespi and Francisco Gomez ; the 
party consisting of fifty-six white persons, including 
a sergeant, an engineer, and thirty-three soldiers, 
and a company oi emigrants from Sonora, together 
with a company of Indians from Lower California. 
They missed their course, and could not find the 
Bay of Monterey, but continued on northward, and, 
on the 25th day of October, 1769, came upon the 
great Bay of San Francisco, which they named in 
honor of the titular saint of the friar missionaries. 


It is said that, while on this expedition, a regret 
was expressed that no mission was as yet named 
after the patron of the Order. Says Portala, " Let 
the saint guide us to a good harbor, and we will 
name a mission for him." When they came in sight 
of the bay, Father Gomez cried, " There is the har- 
bor of San Francisco," and thus it received its name. 

Father Junipero Serra was not of this illustrious 
company of explorers, and did not visit the Bay ol 
San Francisco for nearly six years after its dis- 
covery. The honor belongs to Fathers Crespi and 
Gomez, Governor Portala, and their humbler com- 
panions. The party then returned to San Diego, 
which they reached on the 24th of January, 1770, 



a iter an absence of six months and ten days. Six 
years thereafter, on the 9th of October, 1776, the 
Mission of San Francisco de los Dolores, was founded 
on the western shore of the great bay, the old church 
remaining in tolerable preservation to the present 
time, the most interesting landmark of our present 


One may retire from the noise and bustle of the 
city, and spend a pleasant hour among the quaint 
surroundings of the old church. The adobe walls, 
the columns of doubtful order of architecture, the 
bells hung with rawhide which called the dusky 
converts to worship, all were doubtless objects of 
wonder and mystery to the simple-minded natives. 
From 1776 to 1881, what changes on either side of 
the continent. A hundred years is much in the life 
of men, little, except in effect, in the life of a nation. 

Father Junipero, who founded these missions, and 
under whose fostering care they reached such unex- 
ampled prosperity, reposes in the old church-yard at 
Monterey. His life reads like a romance. 

Church History. — It is related of him as illustrat- 
ing his fiery zeal, that, while on his way to found 
the mission of San Antonio de Padua, he caused the 
mules to be unpacked at a suitable place, and the 
bells hung on a tree. Seizing the rope he began to 
ring with all his might, regardless of the remonstra- 
tions of the other priests, shouting at the top of his 
voice, "Hear! hear, ye Gentiles! Come to the 
Holy Church! Come to the faith of Christ!" Such 
enthusiasm will win its way even among savages. 


At length having founded and successfully estab- 
lished six missions, and gathered into his fold over 
seven thousand wild people of the mountains and 
plains, the heroic Junipero began to feel that his 
end was drawing near. He was then seventy years 
old; fifty-three of these years he had spent in the 
active service of his master in the New World. Hav- 
ing fought the good fight and finished his illustrious 
course, the broken old man retired to the Mission 
of San Carlos at Monterey, gave the few remain- 
ing days of his life to a closer communion with 
God, received the last rites of the religion which he 
had advocated and illustrated so well, and on the 
29th of August, 1784, gently passed away. Tradi- 
tions of the "boy priest" still linger among the rem- 
nants of the tribes which were gathered under his 



Their Moral and Political Aspect — Domestic Economy — The Es- 
tablishments Described — Secular and Religious Occupations 
of the Neophytes — Wealth anil Productions — Liberation and 
Dispersion of the Indians — Final Decay, 

Certain writers upon the early history of Califor- 
nia, have taken an unfavorable view of the system 
under which the missionary friars achieved their 
wonderful success in reducing the wild tribes to a 
condition of semi-civilization. The venerable Fathers 
are accused of selfishness, avarice and tyranny, in 
compelling the Indians to submission, and forcibly 
restraining them from their natural liberty, and 
keeping them in a condition of servitude. Nothing 
could be more unjust and absurd. It were as well to 
say that it is cruel, despotic, and inhuman to tame 
and domesticate the wild cattle that roam the great 
plains of the continent. The system of the Fathers 
was only our modern reservation policy humanized 
and Christianized ; inasmuch as they not only fed and 
clothed the bodies of the improvident natives, but 
likewise cared for their imperishable souls. The cure 
of Indian souls was the primary object of the friar 
enthusiasts ; the work required of the Indians was 
of but few hours' duration, with long intervals of 
rest, and was only incidental to the one great and 
holy purpose of spiritual conversion and salvation. 
Surely, " No greater love hath any man than that 
he lay down his life for his friend;" and it is a cruel 
stretch of sectarian uncharity to charge selfishness 
and avarice to the account of self-devoting men who 
voluntarily went forth from the refinements, pleas- 
ures, and honors of'European civilization, to traverse 
the American wilderness in sandals, and with only 
one poor garment a year, in order to uplift the de- 
graded and savage tribes of Paganism from the 
regions of spiritual darkness, and lead them to the 
heights of salvation; nay, even to starve and die on 
the "coral strand" of California in helpless and 
deserted age. In 1838, the Rev. Father Sarria act- 
ually starved to death at the Mission of Soledad, 
after having labored there for thirty years. After 
the mission had been plundered through the perfidy 
of the Mexican Government, the old man, broken by 
age and faint with hunger, lingered in his little 
church with the few converts that remained, and one 
Sunday morning fell down and died of starvation 
before the altar of his life-long devotion. O, let not 
the Christian historian of California, who is yet to 
write for all time to come, stain and distort his 
pages . by such cruel and unworthy charges against 
the barefooted paladins of the Cross. 

To entirely comprehend the system and proceed- 
ings of the friars, it will be essential to know the 

*This and Chapters V, VI, VII, VIII, X, XI, XII, XIII, 
XIV and XV are taken from the History of Sacramento County, 
and Chapter IX from the History of San Joaquin County, these 
works being 'among those published by Thompson & West. 



H t 



meaning of certain descriptive terras of their insti- 
tutions of settlement. These were — 
1st. Presidios. 
2d. Castillos. 
3d. Pueblos. 
4th. Missions. 

The presidios were the military garrisons, estab- 
lished along the coast for the defense of the country 
and the protection of the missionaries. Being the 
head-quarters of the military, they became the seats 
of local government for the different presidencies 
into which the country was divided. There were 
four of these presidios in Upper California — at San 
Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco. 
They were uniform in structure, consisting of adobe 
walls twelve or fourteen feet high, inclosing a square 
of three hundred feet on each side, defended at the 
angles by small bastions mounting eight twelve- 
pounder, bronze cannon. Within were the barracks, 
store-house, a church for the soldiers, and the com- 
mandant's residence. On the outside they were 
defended by a trench, twelve feet wide and six feet 
deep, and were entered by two gates, open during 
the day, and closed at night. The number of sol- 
diers assigned to each presidio was limited to two 
hundred and fifty ; but rarely were there so many 
at any one station. In addition to the duty of 
guarding the coast, small details of four and five 
men, under a sergeant, accompanied the Fathers 
when they went abroad to establish missions, or on 
other business. A certain number of troops were 
also assigned to each mission, to keep order and 
defend the place against the attacks of hostile na- 
tives. They dressed in buckskin uniform, which 
was supposed to be impervious to arrows, and the 
horses, too, were encased in leather armor, like those 
of the knights of old. 

The castillo was a covered battery, near the pre- 
sidio, which it was intended to guard. It was manned 
and mounted with a few guns, and though but a 
slight defense against a powerful enemy, it served to 
intimidate and keep off the feeble and timorous 

The pueblo was a town, inhabited originally by 
discharged soldiers who had served out their time at 
the presidios. It was separate from the presidio and 
mission, the lands having been granted by the Fa- 
thers. After a while other persons settled there, and 
sometimes the inhabitants of the pueblo, or independ- 
ent town, outnumbered those of the neighboring 
mission. There were only three of those pueblos in 
Upper California — Los Angeles, San Jose, and Bran- 
ciforte, the latter near Santa Cruz. San Francisco 
was not a pueblo. There were three classes of these 
settlements in later times — the pueblo proper, the 
presidiol, and the mission pueblo. The rancherias were 
King's lands, set apart for the use of the troops, to 
pasture their cattle and horses. 

The mission was the parent institution of the 
whole. There the natives resided, under religious 

treatment, and others were not allowed to inhabit 
the place except for a very brief time. This was to 
prevent the mingling of whites and natives, for it 
was thought that the former would contaminate and 
create discontent and disorder among the natives. 
The missions were all constructed on the same gen- 
eral plan. They were quadrangular, adobe struct- 
ures, two stories high, inclosing a court-yard orna- 
mented with fountains and trees ; the whole consist- 
ing of a church, Father's apartments, store-houses, 
barracks, etc. The four sides of the building were 
each about six hundred feet in length, one of which 
was partly occupied by the church. Within the 
quadrangle or court, a gallery or porch ran round 
the second story, opening upon the workshops, store- 
rooms, and other apartments. 

The entire management of each mission was under 
the care of the friars ; the elder attended to the 
interior, and the other the out-doors administration. 
One large apartment, called the monastery, was oc- 
cupied exclusively by Indian girls, under the watch- 
ful care of the matron, where they were instructed 
in such branches as were deemed necessary for then- 
future condition in life. They were not permitted to 
leave the monastery till old enough to be married. 
In the schools, such children as manifested adequate 
capacity, were taught vocal and instrumental music, 
the latter consisting of the flute, horn, and violin. In 
the various mechanical departments, the most in- 
genious and skillful were promoted to the foreman - 

The daily routine of the establishment was usually 
as follows : At sunrise they all arose and repaired 
to the church, where after morning prayers, they 
assisted at the mass. The morning religious exer- 
cises occupied about an hour. Thence they went 
to breakfast, and afterwards to their respective em- 
ployments. At noon they returned to the mission, 
and spent two hours at dinner and in rest ; thence to 
work again, continuing until the evening angelus, 
about an hour before sundown. Then, all betook 
themselves to church, for evening devotions, which 
consisted usually in ordinary family-prayers and 
rosary, but on special occasions other devotional ex- 
ercises were added. After supper, they amused 
themselves in various games, sports, and dances till 
bedtime^ when the unmarried sexes were locked up 
in separate apartments till morning. Their diet con- 
sisted of good beef and mutton, with vegetables, 
wheaten cakes, puddings, and porridges, which they 
called atole and pinole. The men dressed in linen 
shirts, pants, and a blanket, the last serving for an 
overcoat ; the women had each two undergarments, 
a new gown, and a blanket every year. When the 
missions had grown rich, and in times of plenty, 
the Fathers distributed money and trinkets among 
the more exemplary, as rewards for good conduct. 

The Indians lived in small huts grouped around, 
a couple of hundred yards away from the main 
building ; some of these dwellings were made of 



adobes, and others were of rougb poles, conical in 
shape, and thatched with grasp, Mich as the people 
had been accustomed to in their wild state. Here 
the married Indians resided with their families. A 
tract of land, about fifteen miles square, was appor- 
tioned to each mission, for cultivation and pasturage. 
There is a wide distinction between the signification 
of the terms " Mis ion " and " Mission lands ;" the 
former referred to the houses, vineyards, and or- 
chards, in the immediate vicinity of the churches, 
and also included the cattle belonging to the es- 
tablishment; while mission lands, assigned for graz- 
ing and agriculture, were held only in fief, and were 
afterwards claimed by the Government — against the 
loud remonstrance of the Fathers, however. The 
missions were originally intended to be only tempo- 
raiy in duration. It was contemplated that in ten 
years from the time of their foundation they should 
cease, as it was then supposed that within that 
period the Indians would be sufficiently prepared to 
assume the position and character of citizens, and 
that the mission settlements would become pueblos, 
and the mission churches parish institutions, as in 
older civilizations; but having been neglected and 
undisturbed by the Spanish Government, they kept 
on in the old way for sixty years, the comfortable 
Fathers being in no hurry to insist on a change. 

From the foregoing, derived chiefly from Gleeson's 
valuable work, " History of the Catholic Church in 
California," it will be inferred that the good Fathers 
trained up their young neophytes in the way in 
which they should go. Alexander Forbes, and other 
historians, say that during church-time a sort of 
beadle went around with a long stick, and when he 
perceived a native inattentive to the devotions or 
inclined to misbehave, gave him or her an admonitory 
prod, or a rap over the cabesa I But all authorities, 
both Catholic and Protestant agree concerning the 
gentleness and humanity of the Fathers, who were 
absolute in authority and unlimited in the monarchy 
of their little kingdoms. Not that there was never 
any application of severe and necessary discipline; 
there were among the Indians, as well as in civilized 
society, certain vicious and turbulent ones, incapable 
of affection and without reverence for authority, 
and these were soundly whipped, as they no doubt 
deserved, »as such crooked disciples now are at 
San Quentin. Occasionally some discontented ones 
ran away to the hills, and these were pursued and 
brought back by the mission cavalry. They gen- 
erally returned without much trouble, as they had 
an idea that, having been baptized, something dread- 
ful would happen to them if they stayed away. 

While modern sentimentalists may lament that 
these poor people were thus deprived of their nat- 
ural liberty and kept in a condition of servitude, it 
must be admitted that their moral and physical 
situation was even better than the average poor in 
the European States at that time. Their yoke was 
easy, and their burdens were light; and if, in the 

Christian view of things, their spiritual welfare be 
taken into account, the Fathers, instead of being 
regarded as despots and task-masters, must be 
viewed as the substantial benefactors of the swarthy 

The wealth created by some of the missions was 
enormous. At its era of greatest prosperity, the 
Mission of San Gabriel, founded in 1771, numbered 
three thousand Indians, one hundred and five thou- 
sand cattle, twenty thousand horses, forty thousand 
sheep; produced, annually, twenty thousand bushels 
of grain, and five hundred barrels of wine and 
brandy. Attached to this mission were seventeen 
extensive ranches, farmed by the Indians, and pos- 
sessing two hundred yoke of oxen. Some of the old 
fig and olive trees are still bearing fruit, and one old 
Indian woman still survives, who is said to have 
reached the incredible age of one hundred and forty 
years. In 1836, the number of Indians at the 
Mission of Upper California was upwards of thirty 
thousand. The number of live-stock was nearly a 
million, including four hundred thousand cattle, 
sixty thousand horses, and three hundred thousand 
sheep, goats, and swine. One hundred thousand 
cattle were slaughtered annually, their hides and 
tallow producing a revenue of nearly a million of 
dollars, a revenue of equal magnitude being derived 
from other articles of export. There were rich 
and extensive gardens and orchards attached 
to the missions, ornamented and enriched with a 
variety of European and tropical fruit trees, includ- 
ing bananas, oranges, olives, and figs, to which were 
added productive and highly cultivated vineyards, 
rivaling the richest grape-fields of Europe. When 
the missions were secularized and ruined by the 
Mexican Government, there were above a hundred 
thousand piasters in the treasury of San Gabriel. 

But, evil times were coming. In 1826, the Mexi- 
can Congress passed an Act for the liberation of the 
mission Indians, and the demoralization and dis- 
persion of the people soon ensued. Eight years 
thereafter, the number of Christian Indians had 
diminished from thirty thousand six hundred and 
fifty, to four thousand four hundred. Of the eight 
hundred thousand head of live-stock, only sixty- 
three thousand remained. Everything went to rack 
and ruin, and what had been a land of abounding 
life and generous plenty, reverted to silence and 
desolation. At the Mission of St. John Capistrano, 
of the two thousand Christian population, only one 
hundred remained; of the seventy thousand cattle, 
but five hundred were left; of the two thousand 
horses, only one hundred survived, and of the ten 
thousand sheep, not one remained. 

And then, after sixty years of cheerful and suc- 
cessful labor, and from happy abundance in which 
they had hoped to die at last, went forth the down- 
cast Fathers, one after another; some in sorrow to 
the grave, some to other and rougher fields of mis- 
sionary labor, and others to be dispersed among the 



widespread retreats of the Brothers of St. Francis. 
And the swarthy neoplrytes — the dark-eyed maidens 
of San Gabriel, whither went they? Back to the 
savage defiles of the mountains, down to the depths 
of barbarism, to wander in the lonely desert, to 
shiver in the pitiless storm, and to perish at last 
under the ponderous march of a careless and unfeel- 
ing civilization. 



Results of Mexican Rule — Confiscation of the Pious Fund — 
Revolution Begun — Events of the Colonial Rebellion — The 
Americans Appear and Settle Things — Annexation at Last. 

In 1822, Mexico declared independence of Spain, 
and immediately the old missions began to decline. 
Four years afterwards the Christian Indians were 
removed from under the control of the Fathers, 
their manumission having been ordered by the 
Mexican Government. They were to receive cer- 
tain portions of land, and to be entirely independent 
of the friars. The annual salaries of the Fathers, 
which had been derived from interest on the Pious 
Fund, were withheld and appropriated by the Gov- 
ernment, and soon after the fund itself was confis- 
cated by the Mexican Congress, and used for the 
purposes of state. The Pious Fund was the aggre- 
gated donations of the Catholic world for the main- 
tenance of missions in Lower and Upper California, 
the interest being about fifty thousand dollars annu- 
ally, which went for the support of the Fathers. 
This large sum, principal and interest, amounting in 
1817 to one million two hundred and seventy-three 
thousand dollars, the beggarly Mexican Government 
meant to steal. Professor Gleeson, writing in 
defense of the Fathers, makes out a fearful bill of 
damages against the perfidious Government, amount- 
ing to no less than twelve millions two hundred 
thousand dollars, which will probably never be paid 
by that rather shaky republic. The missions were 
thus practically ruined. Following the rapacious 
example set by Government, the white settlers laid 
violent hands on the stock and lands belonging to 
the missions, and, having returned to their mountain 
fastnesses, the Indians instituted a predatory war- 
fare against the settlers, carrying off their goods, 
cattle, and sometimes their wives and children. 
The whites retaliating in kind, villages were de- 
stroyed, and the whole country, highlands and low- 
lands, was kept in a state of apprehension, rapine, 
and spoliation, resembling the condition of Scotland 
in the times of the Jacobites. 

In the meantime in 1836, a revolt against the Mex- 
ican Government was projected by the white settlers 
who seized upon Monterey, the capital, and declared 
the country independent. Thirty American rifle- 
men, under Isaac Graham from Tennessee, and sixty 
mounted Californians, under General Castro, com- 
posed the entire insurgent army, Alvarado being the 

generalissimo. They advanced on and took the 
territorial capital in November, Governor Gutierrez 
and his seventy men having valiantly shut them- 
selves up in the fort, where they ignominiously sur- 
rendered at the very first gun. .. Gutierrez with his 
officials was deported to Lower California, and Alva- 
rado had himself appointed Governor in his stead. 
Bon M. G. Vallejo was appointed military Command- 
ant-General, and Bon Jose Castro was created Pre- 
fect of Police. The country was then formally de- 
clared a free and independent State, providing that 
in the case the then existing Central Government of 
Mexico should be overthrown and a federal constitu- 
tion adopted in its stead, California should enter the 
federation with the other States. The people of Los 
Angeles and Santa Barbara refused to acknowledge 
the new territorial administration, but Alvarado 
marched upon Los Angeles, where he was met by 
Castello, and instead of a bloody battle, it was agreed 
that Alvarado should recognize the existing Central 
Government of Mexico, and be proclaimed political 
chief of California, pro tern., while Castello was to 
proceed to Mexico as deputy to Congress, with a sal- 
ary of three thousand piasters a year. The Govern- 
ment of Mexico declined to confirm the arrangement, 
and appointed Bon Carlos Carillo Governor of the 
Territory. Alvarado again went to war, and with a 
small company of Americans, and Californians, 
marched against Carillo, the new Governor at Santa 
Barbara. The valiant Carillo, having a wholesome 
dread of the American sharp-shooters, retired from 
the field without a battle, leaving Alvarado master 
of the situation. The pusillanimous character of the 
then existing Mexican Government is illustrated by 
the fact that Alvarado was confirmed as Constitu- 
tional Governor of California, notwithstanding he 
had been the leader of the rebellion. 

Then ensued a succession of spoliations which 
destroyed the laborious enterprise of sixty years, and 
left the old missions in melancholy ruins. 

Alvarado bestowed upon his English and Ameri- 
can followers large grants of land, money and stock 
confiscated from the missions. Graham, the captain 
of the band, obtained a great landed estate and two 
hundred mules. To the commandant, General Val- 
lejo, fell the goods and chattels of the missions of 
San Bafael and Solano; Castro, the Prefect of Mont- 
erey, received the property of the San Juan Bau- 
tista, while Governor Alvarado himself appropriated 
the rich spoil of the missions of Carmelo and Soledad.* 

In the meantime a conspiracy against Alvarado 

* Authorities differ on this matter. Some well-informed per- 
sons say that Alvarado had promised Bates, and others, large 
tracts of land, if they would assist him in establishing himself as 
ruler; that after succeeding in his ambitious desires, he turned 
traitor to his friends, and undertook to destroy them on the pre- 
tence of a contemplated insurrection. There was no fair fight. 
Alvarado captured the men, over a hundred in number, by send- 
ing armed parties to their bomes in the night, or by luring 
them to Monterey on pretence of important business, and put- 
ting chains on them as fast as they came into his presence, 
otherwise they would have made short work of deposing him. — 



was set on foot by certain of his English and Amer- 
ican compatriots, the object being the admission of 
California to the American Union. The conspirators 
were forty-six in number, twenty-five English and 
twenty-one Americans, under command of Graham. 
Alvarado soon heard of the design, and sent a party 
of soldiers, under Castro, to Monterey, surprised tbe 
revolutionists in their hut, and poured in a volley of 
musketry disabling many of them; the balance were 
taken prisoners, and afterwards deported to San Bias 
and thence to Topic, where they were treated as con- 
victs. The Americans and English in California ap- 
pealed to the Mexican Government, and President 
Bustamente became alarmed at the danger of war 
with England and the United States, and ordered 
the exiled prisoners to be sent back to California, 
and that they should be indemnified for their loss of 
time at the rate of three piasters a day. The re- 
turned prisoners, immediately on their arrival, re- 
sumed their design with greater energy than before, 
having determined to be revenged on Castro and 
Alvarado for the outrages they had inflicted. 

In 1841 other Americans arrived, and the revolu- 
tionary party was considerably increased. Alvarado 
demanded reinforcements from Mexico, but the only 
assistance he received was that of three hundred 
convicts from the Mexican prisons. At this juncture, 
Santa Ana, the new President, removed Governor 
Alvarado from office, appointing Micheltorena in his 
stead, and when the latter arrived, Monterey, the 
capital, had previously fallen into the hands of the 
American Commodore Jones, although then in the 
possession of the Mexicans. Commodore^Catesby 
Jones, having heard that war had been declared be- 
tween the United States and Mexico, hastened to 
Monterey, took possession of the city, and hoisted 
the American colors; but learning his serious mistake 
on the following day, he lowered his flag and made 
a becoming apology. This extraordinary incident 
occurred on the 20th of October, 1842, and it was 
then obvious that the distracted country must soon 
fall into the hands of the United States, or some 
other foreign nation. 

One of the first acts of the new Governor, Mich- 
eltorena, was the restoration of the missions to the 
friars, after a turbulent interregnum of six years. 
But this act of policy and justice came too late; the 
missions were ruined beyond the possibility of resus- 
citation. The Indians had been dispersed, many of 
them living by brigandage, and others had become 
wandering vagabonds. After two years' exertion by 
the Fathers things began to improve; some of the 
Indians had returned, and the lands were being re- 
cultivated, when the Government again interfered, 
and ordered Governor Pio Pico, in 1845, to dispose 
of the missions either by sale or rental, to the white 
settlers. Thus, at length, the last of the property 
which the Fathers had created by sixty years of 
patient labor, passed into the possession of private 
individuals; many of the Fathers were reduced to 

extreme poverty, humiliation, and distress, and the 
missions went down, never to rise again. The de- 
struction of the missions was almost immediately 
succeeded by the war between the United States 
and Mexico, and the long vexed territory passed to 
the American Union. 



Extent of the Mission Lands — Varieties of Product — Agricul- 
tural Implements and means of Working — A Primitive Mill 
— Immense Herds and Value of Cattle — The First Native 

Up to the time of the American conquest the pro- 
ductive lands of California were chiefly in the hands 
of the missionaries. Each of tbe missions included 
about fifteen miles square, and the boundaries were 
generally equi-distant. As the science of agriculture 
was then in a very primitive condition in Spain, the 
monks of California could not be expected to know 
much about scientific farming. They knew nothing 
about the utility of fallows, or the alternation of 
crops, and their only mode of renovating exhausted 
soil, was to let it lie idle and under the dominion of 
native weeds, until it was thought capable of bear- 
ing crops again. Land being so abundant, there 
was no occasion for laborious or expensive processes 
of recuperation. 

The grains mostly cultivated were Indian corn, 
wheat, barley, and a small bean called frijol, which 
was in general use throughout Spanish America. 
The beans, when ripe, were fried in lard, and much 
esteemed by all ranks of people. Indian corn was 
the bread-staple, and was cultivated in rows or 
drills. The plow used was a very primitive affair. 
It was composed of two pieces of wood; the main 
piece, formed from a crooked limb of a tree of the 
proper shape, constituting both sole and handle. It 
had no mould-board, or other means for turning a 
furrow, and was only capable of scratching the sur- 
face of the ground. A small share, fitted to the 
point of the sole, was the only iron about the im- 
plement. The other piece was a long beam, like 
the tongue of a wagon, reaching to the yoke of the 
cattle by which the plow was drawn. It consisted 
of a rough sapling, with the bark taken off, fixed 
into the main piece, and connected by a small up- 
right on which it was to slide up or down, and was 
fixed in position by two wedges. "When the plow- 
man desired to plow deep, the forward end of the 
tongue was lowered, and in this manner the depth 
of the furrow was regulated. This beam passed 
between the two oxen, a pin was put through the 
end projecting from the yoke, and then the agri- 
cultural machine was ready to run. The plowman 
walked on one side, holding the one handle, or stilt, 
with his right hand, and managing the oxen with 
the other. The yoke was placed on the top of the 
cattle's heads close behind the horns, tied firmly to 



the roots and to the forehead by thongs, so that, 
instead of drawing by the shoulders and neck, the 
oxen dragged the plow by their horns and fore- 
heads. When so harnessed the poor beasts were in 
a very deplorable condition; they could not move 
their heads up, down, or sidcwise, went with their 
noses turned up, and every jolt of the plow knocked 
them about, and seemed to give them great pain. 
Only an ancient Spaniard could devise such a 
contrivance for animal torture. When Alexander 
Forbes suggested to an old Spaniard that perhaps 
it might be better to yoke the oxen by the neck and 
shoulders, " What!" said the old man, "can you sup- 
pose that Spain, which has always been known as 
the mother of the sciences, can be mistaken on 
that point?" 

The oxen were yoked to the carts in the same 
manner, having to bear the weight of the load 
on the top of their heads, the most disadvantageous 
mechanical point of the whole body. The ox-cart 
was composed of .a bottom frame of clumsy con- 
struction, with a few upright bars connected by 
smaller ones at the top. When used for carry- 
ing grain, it was lined with canes or bulrushes. The 
pole was large, and tied to the yoke in the same 
manner as with the plow, so that every jerk of the 
cart was torture to the oxen. The wheels had no 
spokes, and were composed of three pieces of timber, 
the middle piece hewn out of a log, of sufficient size 
to form the nave and middle of the wheel, all in 
one; the middle piece was of a length equal to the 
diameter of the wheel, and rounded at the ends to 
arcs of the circumference. The other two pieces 
were of timber naturally bent, and joined to the 
sides of the middle piece by keys of wood grooved 
into the ends of the pieces which formed the wheel. 
The whole was then made circular, and did not 
contain a particle of iron, not even so much as a nail. 

From the rude construction of the plow, which 
was incapable of turning a furrow, the ground was 
imperfectly broken by scratching over, crossing, and 
re-crossing several times; and although four or five 
crossings were sometimes given to a field, it was 
found impossible to eradicate the weeds. "It was 
no uncommon thing," says Forbes in 1835, "to see, 
on some of the large maize estates in Mexico, as 
many as two hundred plows at work together. As 
the plows are equal on both sides, the plowmen 
have only to begin at one side of the field and follow 
one another up and down, as many as can be em- 
ployed together without interfering in turning round 
at the end, which they do in succession, like ships 
tacking in a line of battle, and so proceed down the 
same side as they come up." 

Harrows were unknown, the wheat and barley 
being brushed in by a branch of a tree. Sometimes 
a heavy log was drawn over the field, on the plan 
of a roller, save that it did not roll, but was dragged 
so as to carry a part of the soil over the seeds. 
Indian corn was planted in furrows or ruts drawn 

about five feet apart, the seed being deposited by 
hand, from three to five grains in a place, which 
were slightly covered by the foot, no hoes being 
used. The sowing of maize, as well as all other 
grains in Upper California, commenced in Novem- 
ber, as near as possible to the beginning of the rainy 
season. The harvest was in July and August. 
Wheat was sown broadcast, and in 1835 it was 
considered equal in quality to that produced at the 
Cape of Good Hope, and had begun to attract at- 
tention in Europe. All kinds of grain were threshed 
at harvest time, without stacking. In 1831, the 
whole amount of grain raised in Upper California, 
according to the mission records, was 46,202 fanegas 
— the fanega being equal to 2? English bushels.' 
Wheat and barley were then worth two dollars the 
fanega; maize, a dollar and a half; the crop of that 
year at the several missions being worth some eighty- 
six thousand dollars. 

The mills for grinding grain consisted of an up- 
right axle, to the lower end of which was fixed a 
horizontal water-wheel under the building, and to 
the upper end a millstone. As there was no inter- 
mediate machinery to increase the velocity of the 
stone it could make oidy the same number of revo- 
lutions as the water-wheel, so that the work of 
grinding a grist was necessarily a process of time. 
The water-wheel was fearfully and wonderfully 
made. Forbes described it as a set of cucharas, or 
gigantic spoons, set around its periphery in place of 
floats. They were made of strong pieces of timber, 
in the shape of spoons, with the handles inserted in 
mortises in the outer surface of the wheel, the bowl 
of the spoons toward the water, which impinged 
upon them with nearly its whole velocity. Rude as 
the contrivance was, it was exceedingly powerful — 
a sort of primitive turbine. There were only three 
of these improved mills in the country in 1835, and 
the possession of such a rare piece of machinery was 
no small boast for the simple-hearted Fathers, so 
far away from the j>rogressive mechanical world. 
It was not a primitive California invention, how- 
ever, as Sir Walter Scott, in his romance of " The 
Pirate," describes a similar apparatus formerly in 
use in the Shetland Islands.* 

Before the advent of foreigners, neither potatoes 
nor green vegetables were cultivated as articles of 
food. Hemp was raised to some extent, and flax 
grew well, but its culture was discontinued for want 
of machinery for manufacture. Pasturage was the 
principal pursuit in all Spanish colonies in America. 
The immense tracts of wild land afforded unlimited 
ranges, but few men and little labor were required, 
and the pastoral state was the most congenial to 
the people. The herds were very large; in the 
four jurisdictions of San Francisco, Monterey, Santa 

*This form of water-wheel was common in the Eastern States 
during the earlier part of this century, and was known as the 
tub or spur wheel. Even the mounting of the mill-stones was 
in the manner described. — [Editor. 



Barbara, and San Diego, there were in L836 three 
hundred thousand black- cattle, thirty-two thousand 
horses, twenty-eight thousand mules, and one hun- 
dred and fifty-three thousand sheep. Great num- 
bers of horses ran wild, and these were hunted and 
killed to prevent their eating the grass. There was 
hardly such a thing as butter or cheese in use, but- 
ter being, in general, an abomination to a Spaniard. 

In the earlier times immense droves of young bulls 
were sent to Mexico for beef. The cattle being half- 
wild, it was necessary to catch them with the lasso, 
a process which need not be here described. The 
process of milking the cows was peculiar. They first 
let the calf suck for a "while, when the dairyman 
'stole up on the other side, and, while the calf 
was still sucking, procured a little of the milk. 
They had an idea that the cow would not " give 
down " milk if the calf was taken away from her. 
The sheep were of a bad breed, with coarse wool; and 
swine received little attention. The amount of the 
annual exports in the first few years after the open- 
ing of the ports to foreign vessels, was estimated at 
thirty thousand hides and seven thousand quintals 
of tallow; with small cargoes of wheat, wine, raisins, 
olives, etc., sent to the Russian settlements and San 
Bias. Hides were worth two dollars each, and tallow 
eight dollars per quintal. Afterwards the exporta- 
tion of hides and tallow was greatly increased, and 
it is said that after the Fathers had become con- 
vinced that they would have to give up the mission 
lands to the Government, they caused the slaughter 
of one hundred thousand cattle in a single year, for 
their hides and tallow alone. And who could blame 
them? The cattle were theirs. Notwithstanding- 
all this immense revenue these enthusiasts gave it 
all to the church, and themselves went away in 
penury, and, as has been related heretofore, one of 
them actually starved to death. 

In 1836 the value of a fat ox or bull in Upper Cali- 
fornia was five dollars; a cow, five; a saddle-horse, 
ten; a mare, five; a sheep, two; and a mule ten 

Thefirst ship ever constructed on the eastern shores 
of the Pacific was built by the Jesuit Father, Ugarte, 
at Loreto, in 1719. Being in want of a vessel to sur- 
vey the coast of the peninsula, and there being none 
available nearer than New Spain or the Philippine 
Islands, the enterprising friar determined to build 
one. After traveling two hundred miles through the 
mountains suitable timber was at last found, in a 
marshy country; but how to get it to the coast was 
the great question; this was considered impossible by 
all but the stubborn old friar. When the party 
returned to Loreto, Father Ugarte's ship in the 
mountains became a ghostly joke among his brother 
friars. But, not to be beaten and laughed down, 
Ugarte made the necessary preparations, returned 
to the mountains, felled the timber, dragged it two 
hundred miles to the coast, and built a handsome 
ship, which he appropriately named The Triumph of 

the Gross. The first voyage of this historic ves- 
sel was to La Pa/,, two hundred miles south of Loreto, 
where a mission was to be founded. 


Sir Francis Drake's Discoveries — The Fabulous Straits of 
Auian — Arctic Weather in .June — Russian Invasion — 
Native Animals — Various facts and Events. 

For many years it was supposed and maintained 
in England that Sir Francis Drake was the original 
discoverer of San Francisco bay; but it is now con- 
sidered certain that he never found the entrance to 
that inland sea. Drake was a buccaneer, and, in 
1579, was in the South Seas looking for Spanish 
ships to plunder, under the pretext of existing war 
between England and Spain. He had two other pur- 
poses to subserve in behalf of the English Govern- 
ment; to discover a new route from Europe to the 
Indies, and to find a new territory northward 
that would rival the Spanish-American possessions 
in natural wealth. A rich trade had sprung up 
between the Philippine Islands and Spain; every 
year a Spanish galleon from the Malayan Archipel- 
ago crossed the Pacific to Acapulco, freighted with 
the richest merchandise, and this, Captain Drake 
was on the watch for, and did eventually capture. 

At that time navigators universally believed that 
the American and Asiatic continents were separated 
only by the Straits of Anian, which were sup- 
posed to lead eastward to the Atlantic, somewhere 
about Newfoundland. This long-sought northwest- 
ern passage Drake was in search of. In the autumn 
of 1578 Drake brought his little fleet of three ves- 
sels through the Straits of Magellan, and found the 
Pacific ocean in a stormy, rage, and, having been 
drifted about Cape Horn a couple of months, he con- 
cluded that the continent was there at an end; that 
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans there united their 
waters; and he very naturally came to the conclu- 
sion that a similar juncture of seas would be found 
at the north. Having captured the great Spanish 
galleon, and finding himself overburdened with rich 
treasure, Drake wanted to return to England. He 
did not care to encounter the stormy waters of 
Cape Horn, and expecting to find a hostile Spanish 
fleet awaiting him at the Straits of Magellan, he 
determined to make his way home by a new and 
hitherto unknown route, the north-eastern passage. 
On the 17th of June, 1579, he entered what the his- 
torian of the expedition called a "faire, good bay 
within thirty-eight degrees of latitude of the line.'' 
That exactly corresponds with what is now known 
as Drake's Bay, behind Point Reyes. There, 
although it was in the month of June, his men " com- 
plained grievously of the nipping cold." Drake 
having given up the perilous north-eastern passage 
by way of the fabulous Straits of Anian, sailed away 
for England by way of the Philippine Islands and 



the Cape of Good Hope. It is probable that while 
off the north-west coast, Drake saw the snowy 
crest of Mount Shasta and some of the Oregon 
peaks, and concluded that he had got near enough 
to the North Pole. At any rate, it is clear enough 
that he never passed through the Golden Gate, or 
rested on the magnificent waters of San Francisco 

The Eeverend Fletcher, chaplain of Drake's expe- 
dition, must have been a terrible old story-teller. He 
says that when off the coast of Oregon, in the 
month of June, " The rigging of the ship was frozen 
stiff, and the meat froze as it was taken off the 
fire." Moreover, saith the same veracious parson, 
"There is no part of earth here to be taken up, 
wherein there is not a reasonable quantity of gold 
and silver." These arctic regions and golden treas- 
ures were found along the ocean shore between San- 
Francisco and Portland. 

Another English buccaneer, Thomas Cavendish, 
appeared on the Pacific coast in 1586, and plundered 
the Philippine galleon of 122,000 pesos in gold, 
besides a valuable cargo of merchandise. The pirate 
ran the vessel into the nearest port, set her on fire, 
liberated the crew and made his escape to England. 

It is supposed that one of the extensive Smith 
family was the first white man who crossed the 
Sierra Nevada from the States, but this fact is not 
altogether certain. In the Summer of 1825 Jedediah 
S. Smith, the head of the American Fur Company, 
led a party of trappers and Indians from their camp, 
on Green river, across the Sierra Nevada and into 
the Tulare valley, which they reached in July. The 
party trapped for beaver from the Tulare to the 
American river, and had their camp near the pres- 
ent site of Folsom. On a second trip Smith led his 
company further south, into the Mojave country, on 
the Colorado, where all except himself and two com- 
panions were killed by the Indians. These three 
made their way to the Mission of San Gabriel, near 
Los Angeles, which they reached in December, 1826. 
In the following year Smith and his party left the 
Sacramento valley for the settlements on the Colum- 
bia river, but at the mouth of the Umpqua they 
were attacked by Indians, and all killed except 
Smith and two Irishmen, who, after much suffering, 
reached Fort Vancouver. Smith returned to St. 
Louis in 1840, and the following year was killed by 
Indians, while leading an expedition to Santa Fe. 
His history is no less adventurous and romantic 
than that of the famous Captain John Smith, of 

In 1807 the Eussians first appeared on the coast of 
California. The Czar's ambassador to Japan came 
down from Sitka, ostensibly for supplies, and 
attempted to establish communication between the 
Eussian and Spanish settlements. The better to 
effect his purpose he became engaged in marriage 
with the Commandante's daughter, at San Francisco, 
but on his way back to obtain the sanction of his 

Government he was thrown from his horse and 
killed. The lady assumed the habit of a nun, and 
mourned for her lover until death. In 1812 a hun- 
dred Eussians and as many Kodiac Indians came 
down from their northern settlements and squatted 
at Bodega, where they built a fort and maintained 
themselves by force of arms until 1841, when they 
sold the establishment to Captain Sutter and disap- 

In 1822 Mexico declared her independence ot 
Spain, and established a separate empire. When the 
Indians at San Diego heard of it they held a great 
feast, and commenced the ceremonies by burning 
their chief alive. .When the missionax"ies remon- 
strated, the logical savages said: "Have you not 
done the same in Mexico ? You say your King 
was not good, and you killed him; well, our cap- 
tain was not good, and we burned him. If the new 
one is bad we will burn him too." 

The State of California was originally divided 
into twenty-seven counties. The derivation of the 
several terms adopted is given by General Vallejo: 

San Diego (Saint James) takes its name from the 
old town, three miles from the harbor, discovered by 
Viscaino, in 1602. 

Los Angeles county was named from the city 
(Ciudad de Los Angeles) founded by order of the 
Viceroy of New Spain, in 1780. 

Santa Barbara was named after the town estab- 
lished in 1780 to protect the five adjacent missions. 

San Luis Obispo, after its principal town, the site 
of a misson founded in 1772 by Junipero Serra and 
Jose Cavalier. 

Monterey, after the chief town, which was so 
named by Viscaifio in honor of his friend and patron, 
the Viceroy, Count of Monterey. 

Santa Cruz (the Holy Cross) was named from the 
mission on the north side of the bay. 

San Francisco, named in honor of the friars' 
patron saint. 

Santa Clara, named from the mission established 
there in 1777. 

Contra Costa (the opposite coast) is the natural 
designation of the country across the bay from San 

Marin county, named after a troublesome chief 
whom an exploring expedition encountered in 1815. 
Marin died at the San Eafael Mission in 1834. 

Sonoma, named after a noted Indian, who also 
gave name to his tribe. The word means " Valley 
of the Moon." 

Solano, the name of a chief, who borrowed it from 
his missionary friend, Father Solano. 

Yolo, a corruption of an Indian word yoloy, sig- 
nifying a place thick with rushes; also, the name of 
a tribe of Indians on Cache creek. 

Napa, named after a numerous tribe in that re- 
gion, which was nearly exterminated by small-pox 
in 1838. 




Mendocino, Darned by the discoverer after Mcii- 
doza, Viceroy of New Spain. 

Sacramento (the Sacrament). Moraga gave the 
main river the name of Jesus Maria, and the prin- 
cipal branch he called Sacramento. Afterwards, 
the great river came to be known as the Sacra- 
mento, and the branch, Feather river. 

El Dorado, the appropriate name of the district 
where gold was discovered in 1848. 

Sutter county, named in honor of the world- 
renowned pioneer, John A. Sutter. 

Yuba, a corruption of Uva, a name given a branch 
of Feather river in 1824 by an exploring party, on 
account of the great quantities. of wild grape vines 
growing on its banks. 

Butte, the common French term for a mound, in 
allusion to three symmetrical hills in that county; 
so named by a party of the Hudson Bay Company 

Colusa, from Coluses, the name of a numerous 
tribe on the west side of the Sacramento. Meaning 
of the word is unknown. 

Shasta, the name of a tribe who lived at the base 
of the lofty peak of same name. 

Calaveras, so named by Captain Moraga, on ac- 
count of an immense number of skulls in the vicinity 
of a stream, which he called "Calaveras, or the 
River of Skulls." This is the reputed site of a terri- 
ble battle between the mountain and valley Indians, 
over the fishing question. 

San Joaquin, after the river, so named by Captain 
Moraga, in honor of the legendary father of the 
Yirgin . 

Tuolumne, a corruption of an Indian word, signi- 
fying a cluster of stone wigwams. 

Mariposa signifies butterfly. So called by a party 
of hunters, who camped on the river in 1807, and 
observed the trees gorgeous with butterflies. 

Trinity, called after the bay of that name, which 
was discovered on the anniversary of Trinity Fes- 

When first visited by the Spaniards, California 
abounded in wild animals, some of which are now 
extinct. One of these was called Berendo by the 
Spaniards, and by the natives, Taye. "It is," says 
Father Yenegas, " about the bigness of a calf a 
year and a half old, resembling it in figure, except 
the head, which is like that of a deer, and the 
horns very thick, like those of a ram. Its hoof 
is large, round, and cloven, and its tail short." 
This was the Argali, a species intermediate between 
the goat and the sheep, living in large herds along 
the bases of the mountains; supposed to be a variety 
of the Asiatic argali, so plentiful in Northern and 
Central Asia. In his journey from Monterey to San 
Francisco, Father Serra met with herds of immense 
deer, which the men mistook for European cattle, 
and wondered how they got there. Several deer 
were shot, whose horns measured eleven feet from 
tip to tip. Another large animal, which the natives 

called cibolo, the bison, inhabited the great plains, 
but was eventually driven off by the vast herds of 
domestic cattle. When Langsdorff's ship was lying 
in the Bay of San Francisco in 1804, sea-otter were 
swimming about so plentifully as to be nearly un- 
heeded. The Indians caught them in snares, or 
killed them with slicks. Perpuse estimated that 
the Presidency of Monterey alone could supply 
ten thousand otter skins annually. They were worth 
twenty dollars and upwards apiece. Beechey found 
birds in astonishing numbers and variety, but their 
plumage was dingy looking, and very few of them 
could sing respectably. 

The name California was first given to the Lower 
Peninsula in 1536, and was afterwards applied to 
the coast territory as far north as Cape Mendocino. 
There has been much learned speculation concerning 
the probable derivation of the word, but no satis- 
factory conclusion has been l'eached. The word is 
arbitrary, derived from some expression of the In- 

The province, as it formerly existed under the 
Viceroys, was divided into two parts; Peninsular, 
or Lower and Old California, and Continental, or 
Upper and New, the line of separation running near 
the 32d parallel of latitude, from the northern ex- 
tremity of the Gulf of California, to the Pacific ocean. 

The Gulf of California — called also the Sea of Cor- 
tez, and the Vermilion Sea — is a great arm of the 
Pacific, which joins that ocean under the 23d par- 
allel of latitude, and thence extends north-westward 
inland about seven hundred miles, where it receives 
the waters of the Colorado and Gila rivers. It is 
a hundred miles wide at the mouth, widens further 
north, and still further on contracts in width, till its 
shores become the banks of the Colorado. The 
Peninsular, or California side of the Gulf, was for- 
merly celebrated for the size and beauty of its 
pearls, which were found in oysters. They were 
obtained with great difficulty, from the crevices at 
the bottom, by Indian divers, who had to go down 
twenty or thirty feet, and frequently were drowned, 
or devoured by sharks. In 1825, eight vessels en- 
gaged in the fishing, obtained, altogether, five 
pounds of pearls, which were worth about ten thou- 
sand dollars. Sometimes, however, a single mag- 
nificent pearl was found, which compensated for 
years of labor and disappointment. Some of the 
richest in the royal regalia of Spain, were found on 
the California gulf. 

Peninsular, or Lower California, lying between 
the gulf and the ocean, is about 130 miles in breadth 
where it joins the continent at the north, under the 
32d parallel, and nearly in the same latitude as 
Savannah in Georgia. Thence it runs south-east- 
ward, diminishing in breadth and terminating in 
two points, the one at Cape San Lucas, in nearly the 
same latitude as Havana, the other at Cape Palmo, 
60 miles north-east, at the entrance of the gulf. 

Continental California extends along the Pacific 



(AT 93Y'? of AGE ) 



from the 32d parallel, where it joins the peninsula, 
about seven hundred miles, to the Oregon line, 
nearly in the latitude of Boston. The Mexican 
Government considered the 42d parallel of latitude 
as the northern line of California, according to a 
treaty with the United States in 1828. 

Greenhow, writing in 1844, says: "The only mine 
as yet discovered in Upper California is one of 
gold, situated at the foot of the great westernmost 
range of mountains, on the west, at the distance 
of twenty-five miles from Angeles, the largest 
town in the country. It is said to be of extra- 
ordinary richness." 

The animals originally found in California were 
buffalo, deer, elk, bear, wild hogs, wild sheep, 
ocelots, pumas, beavers, foxes, and many others, 
generally of a species different from those on the 
Atlantic side. Cattle and horses were introduced 
from Mexico, and soon overrun the country, and 
drove out the buffalo and other of the large animals. 
One of the worst scourges of the country was the 
chapul, a kind of grasshopper, which appeared in 
clouds after a mild winter, and ate up every green 

Little or no rain fell during the years 1840 and 
1841, in which time the inhabitants were reduced to 
the verge of starvation. 

It is a remarkable fact, that the Golden Gate is 
nearly in the same latitude as the entrance of Chesa- 
peake bay and the Straits of Gibraltar. 

In 1844, the town of Monterey, the capital -of 
Upper California, was a wretched collection of mud, 
or adobe houses, containing about two hundred in- 
habitants. The castle and fort consisted 'of mud 
walls, behind which were a few worthless guns, good 
for nothing but to scare the Indians. 

In 1838, the Russian settlements at Ross and 
Bodega contained eight or nine hundred inhab- 
itants, stockaded forts, mills, shops, and stables, and 
the farms produced great abundance of grain, vege- 
tables, butter, and cheese, which were shipped to 
Sitka. The lazy Spaniards were bitterly hostile to 
the industrious Muscovites, but durst not meddle 
with them. At last, having maintained their in- 
dependent colony thirty-one years, they sold out to 
Captain Sutter, and quietly moved away. 



Fremont and the Bear Flag — Rise and Progress of the Revolu- 
tion — Commodores Sloat, Stockton, and Shubrick — Castro 
and Flores Driven out — Treaty of Peace — Stockton and 
'Kearney Quarrel — Fremont Arrested, etc. 

In the Spring of 1845, John C. Fremont, then a 
brevet-captain in the corps of United States Topo- 
graphical Engineers, was dispatched on a third 
tour of exploration across the continent, and was 
charged to find a better route from the Rocky 
Mountains to the mouth of the Columbia river. 

This was his ostensible business, but there is reason 
to believe that he had other and private instructions 
from the Government concerning the acquisition 
of California, in view of the pending war with 
Mexico. Fremont reached the frontiers of Cali- 
fornia in March, 1846, halted his company a hun- 
dred miles from Monterey, and proceeded alone to 
have an interview with General Castro, the Mexican 
Commandante. He wanted permission to take his 
company of sixty-two men to San Joaquin valley, 
to recruit their energies before setting out for 
Oregon. To this Castro assented, and told him to go 
where he pleased. Immediately thereafter the per- 
fidious Castro, pretending to have received fresh 
instructions from his Government, raised a com- 
pany of three hundred native Californians, and sent 
word to Fremont to quit the country forthwith, else 
he would fall upon and annihilate him and his little 
band of adventurers. Fremont sent word back that 
he should go when he got ready, and then took posi- 
tion on Hawk's Peak, overlooking Monterey, and 
raised the American flag. At this time neither party 
had heard of any declaration of war between the 
United States and Mexico. 

Fremont's party consisted of sixty-two rough 
American borderers, including Kit Carson and six 
Delaware Indians, each armed with a rifle, two pis- 
tols, a bowie-knife, and tomahawk. Castro maneu- 
vered round for three days with his cavalry, infantry 
and field pieces, but, with true Mexican discretion, 
kept well out of rifle shot; and, on the fourth day, 
Fremont, perceiving that there was no fight in the 
gascon, struck his camp and moved at his leisure 
toward Oregon. 

At Klamath lake, Lieutenant Gillespie, of the 
United States army, overtook Fremont's party, with 
verbal dispatches, and a letter from the American 
Secretary of State, commending the bearer to Fre- 
mont's good offices. That was all; what the verbal 
dispatches were is still unknown. Fremont returned 
to the Sacramento valley, and encamped near the 
Marysville Buttes. He found the American settlers 
greatly alarmed by Castro's war-like proclamations, 
and had no difficulty in raising a considerable com- 
pany of volunteers, a party of whom marched on 
the post of Sonoma, captured nine brass cannon, two 
hundred and fifty stand of small arms, and made 
prisoners of General Vallejo and two other persons 
of importance. Eighteen men were left to garrison 
the place, under William B. Ide. Castro fulminated 
another proclamation from his head-quarters at Santa 
Clara, calling on the native Californians to "rise for 
their religion, liberty, and independence," and Ide 
issued another at Sonoma, appealing to the Ameri- 
cans and other foreigners to rise and defend their 
rights of settlement, as tbej r were about to be mas- 
sacred or driven out of the country. The settlers 
responded numerously and with alacrity; and, after 
one or two skirmishes, repaired to Sonoma, declared 
an independent State, and raised the now celebrated 



Bear Flag. That historic standard consisted of a 
piece of cotton cloth, with a tolerable likeness of a 
grizzly bear, done with a blacking-brash and berry- 
juice, and now belongs to the California Society of 

In the meantime Fremont was organizing a bat- 
talion at Sutter's Fort, and having heard that Castro 
was moving in force on Sonoma, he made a forced 
march to that point with ninety riflemen. Thence 
Fremont, Kit Carson, Lieutenant Gillespie, and a 
few others, crossed to the old fort at San Francisco, 
made prisoner the Commandante, spiked all the 
guns, and returned to Sonoma. There, on the 5th of 
July, 1846, he called his whole force of revolution- 
ists together, and recommended an immediate 
declaration of independence. This was unanimously 
assented to, and the bear party was merged into the 
battalion, which now numbered one hundred and 
sixty mounted riflemen. Next day it was deter- 
mined to go in pursuit of the proclaiming Castro, 
who was said to be entrenched at Santa Clara with 
four hundred men; but Avhen the battalion had 
crossed the Sacramento at Sutter's Fort, they 
learned that Castro had evacuated the Santa Clara 
country and fled to Los Angeles, whither they 
resolved to follow him, five hundred miles away. At 
this point news was received that the American flag- 
had been raised at Monterey, and that the American 
naval forces would co-operate with the mounted 
riflemen in the effort to capture Castro. Then the 
Bear Flag was hauled down, giving place to the 
stars and stripes, and Fremont and his men set out 
overland for Los Angeles, after the declamatory but 
fugacious Castro, who will live in history as the " Cap- 
tain Bobadil " of that brief but stiri-ing revolution. 
Up to this time nothing had been heard of a declara- 
tion of war between Mexico and the United States. 

On the 2d of July, 1846, Commodore Sloat had 
arrived at Monterey in the United States frigate, 
Savannah, his whole fleet consisting of one frigate 
and five smaller vessels. He had no intelligence 
of a declaration of war between the United States 
and Mexico, but was aware that hostilities were 
impending, and was in doubt what to do. The 
British Rear-Admiral, Sir George Seymour's flag- 
ship, was lying in the harbor of San Bias while Sloat 
was at Mazatlan, and eight other British ships were 
on the coast watching the American movements, and 
ready to take possession of California. When Sloat 
sailed from Mazatlan Seymour put out from San Bias, 
each ship spreading every sail in a race for Monterey, 
but the American Commodore out-sailed the British 
Admiral, and, when the latter rounded the Point of 
Pines at Monterey, he found the Americans in full pos- 
session. On the 7th of July Commodore Sloat sent 
Captain Mervine, with two hundred and fifty ma- 
rines and seamen, on shore, hoisted the American flag 
over Monterey, the capital of Upper California, and 
issued a proclamation declaring the province hence- 
forth a portion of the United States. He had pre- 

viously dispatched a messenger to San Francisco to 
Commander .Montgomery, and on the 8th of that 
month the stars and stripes waved over Yerba 
Buena. On tlie 10th Montgomery sent an American 
flag to Sonoma, which the revolutionists received 
with great joy, pulled down their Bear Flag, and 
boisted the Union standard in its stead, and thus 
ended the dominion of the revolutionary Bear Flag 
in California, having played a conspicuous and 
important part in the conquest. 

Sloat then organized a company of volunteer dra- 
goons to take possession of certain arms and stores 
at San Juan; but, when they arrived, Fremont and 
his battalion had been there from Sutter's Fort, and 
captui'ed nine pieces of cannon, two hundred mus- 
kets, twenty kegs of powder, and sixty thousand 
pounds of cannon shot. 

When Fremont reported himself upon Sloat's 
order, at Monterey, a misunderstanding occurred 
between the Commodore and the Pathfinder, and 
the former refused to co-operate with the latter in 
the further prosecution of the war, and while the 
dispute was pending Commodore Stockton arrived to 
supersede Sloat, who had been too slow and hesitating 
to suit the authorities at Washington. 

Sloat having retired, Stockton and Fremont worked 
harmoniously. The former assumed command of the 
land forces, and invited Fremont and Gillespie to 
take service under him with their battalion. On the 
23d, Stockton dispatched Commodore Dupont with 
the Cyane, to convey Fremont and his battalion to 
San Diego, and soon afterwards himself sailed for 
San Pedro, the sea-port of Los Angeles. At Santa 
Barbara he went ashore and took possession unre- 
sisted. There he learned that Castro and Pico were 
at Los Angeles with fifteen hundred men, and also 
that Fremont had reached San Diego. After drilling 
his seamen in the land service, Stockton, with his 
three hundred men, took up his march for Los 
Angeles, but, on his arrival, Castro had decamped 
and fled to Sonora. Stockton at once took posses- 
sion of the place, and was soon after joined by Fre- 
mont, and, having received official notice of existing 
war between the United States and Mexico, he pro- 
claimed California a territory of the United States, 
organized a temporary government, and invited the 
people to meet on the 15th of September and elect 
officers of their own. He then returned to Yerba 
Buena, or San Francisco, where the people of the 
neighboring country gave him a public reception. 

After Stockton had left Los Angeles, General Flores 
re-organized the scattered forces of the Mexicans, 
retook the place, and proclaimed expulsion or death 
to the Americans; so the conquest had to be made 
again. Stockton returned to San Diego, and, after 
various events which cannot be here related in 
detail, was joined by General Kearney, who had 
marched across the country from Santa Fe, and, on 
the 20th of December, commenced his march of one 
hundred and thirty miles to Los Angeles. He found 



the enemy, a thousand or twelve hundred strong, 
drawn up in battle array on the bank of the San 
Gabriel river; a battle ensued, in which the Mexi- 
cans were defeated by Stockton and Kearney, and 
fled towards Los Angeles, and, after three ineffect- 
ual attempts to make a stand, they scattered in con- 
fusion. On the 10th of January Stockton re-entered 
Los Angeles, and restored the American flag to the 
eminence which it still maintains. Flores, after hav- 
ing made a much better fight than Castro, fled to 
Sonora. The treaty of Couenga ensued, restoring 
peace to the country and completing the American 

Immediately after the conquest a dispute arose be- 
tween Commodore Stockton and General Kearney as 
to precedence in the territorial Government. Kearney 
was authorized to etablish a civil Government in Cal- 
ifornia, provided he should conquer it, as he did New 
Mexico; Stockton and Fremont maintained that the 
conquest was accomplished before he arrived. Fre- 
.mont decided to report officially to Commodore 
Stockton, who thereupon commissioned him as Gov- 
ernor of the Territory. Thus Fremont obtained the 
ill-will of General Kearney, who, combining with 
Commodore Shubrick, in the absence of Stockton, 
abrogated the treaty of Couenga, and proceeded to 
oust Fremont from the Governorship. In the mean- 
time Colonel Stephenson arrived with his regiment 
of New York volunteers, and sided with Kearney. 
Mason was installed as Governor, and Fremont was 
ordered to report at Monterey within twelve days; 
this he failed to do, and Kearney refused him per- 
mission to join his regiment, sold his horses, and 
ordered him to repair to Monterey, where he com- 
pelled him to turn over his exploring outfit to 
another person. When Kearney was ready to go 
East he compelled Fremont to accompany him, and 
at Fort Leavenworth Fremont was arrested for 
insubordination, conveyed to Fortress Monroe, tried 
by Court-martial, found guilty of mutiny, disobedi- 
ence, and disorderly conduct, deprived of his com- 
mission, but recommended to the clemency of the 
President. Having suffered these outrageous indig- 
nities solely in consequence of a quarrel between 
Commodore Stockton and General Kearney, Fre- 
mont declined to avail himself of executive clemency, 
and quit the service. 

The people of the country generally considered 
that Fremont had been ungenerously used by the 
Government, and, a few years after, his popularity 
having been greatly enhanced through the influence 
of his magnificent wife, the daughter of Senator 
Thomas H. Benton, he was nominated for the Pres- 
idency by the Republican party. 





1841, UNTIL THE CLOSE OF 1847. 

Captain C. M. Weber— Expedition to California, 1841— Names 
of the Party— Sutter's Fort— Hoza Ha-soos— San Jose- 
French Camp or Weber Grant— Revolutionary Desions of the 
Foreigners— Treaty between Weber and Ha-soos— How it 
was observed by Ha-soos— Fremont's Expedition, 1S44— 
David Kelsey— Thomas Lindsay— Policy of the Foreigners— 
Weber and Michel torena at San Jose— John A. Sutter aids 
Micheltorena— A Revolutionary Document— The "Bear 
Fla S "— Attem Pt to Settle the G rant, 1846— Isbel Brothers 
and Other Early Settlers— Twins, Second Children born in 
County, 1847— End of Stanislaus City— First Marriage 1847 
—y^g e of ''Tuleburg"— William Garni, First Child born 
m 1847— Wild Horse Scheme— Resume. 

Capt. C. M. Weber was born at Hombourg, Depart- 
ment of Mont Tonnerre, under the Emperor Napo- 
leon I., on the 16th day of February, 1814. His 
parents were German. This province, about a year 
later, became a part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. 
His father was a minister, and held the position 
which in America would be called County School 
Superintendent. The Captain received an academic 
education— but not relishing an outlook that pre- 
sented the ministry in the future, his education was 
cat short at the threshold of the classic, and a mer- 
cantile horoscope was cast for the years " that were 
not yet." 

Being of an adventurous disposition, theland where 
Washington had fought and Be Kalb had fallen held 
to his youthful imagination an irresistible attraction; 
aud at the age of twenty-two he crossed the ocean, 
landed at New Orleans in the latter part of 1836 
and for five years was a resident of Louisiana and 
-Texas, when in the Spring of 1841, under medical 
advice, he visited St. Louis. In the meantime he had 
read in the newspapers the glowing descriptions of 
California given by Br. John Marshe, a resident of 
the San Joaquin valley, and which were attracting 
ing considerable attention in the States. The Cap- 
tain — knowing that a trip across the plains, over the 
mountains of the west, and down into the California 
valleys would benefithis health, and, at the same time 
give him an opportunity to see this comparatively un- 
known country— decided to join an expedition then 
fitting out in that city for a trip to the Pacific slope, 
intending in the following Spring to continue his 
journey to Mexico, through that country, and ulti- 
mately, in that way, reach Louisiana, his final desti- 
nation, having no intention of stopping in California 
longer, at the farthest, than through the ensuing- 
Winter. But "the best laid schemes o' mice and men 
gang aft agley." 

The party to which the Captain attachedhimself was 
a combination of emigrants for three different points: 
One party was destined for Oregon; another was a 
company of Jesuit priests going to the western wilds 

"The portion of the history of San Joaquin is intimately con- 
nected with that of Amador, forming the connecting link between 
the Spanish and American settlement. 




on a mission to the Indians, hoping to Christianize 
the tribes of Oregon and Idaho; their immediate 
destination was the missions of Occur d' Alcne and 
Pen d' Oreille; Father P. J. DcSmet, S. J., was the 
leading spirit, and his efforts in that field have been 
written, a brief page in history, and the red man 
still scalps his foes. The third was the California 
wing of the little emigrant army, and numbered 
among its party men whose subsequent acts hel| ted 
materially to shape the destinies of the State which 
has since become a golden star in the galaxy of the 

There were thirty-six in that party. One only 
was a woman — the first American lady, probably, 
who ever entered California — certainly the first to 
reach it from over the plains. Her name was Mrs. 
Nancy A. Kelsey. She was the wife ofBenjamin 
Kelsey, and they had a little daughter named Ann. 
This family commenced their march then, and, like 
the wandering Jew, have never since found a place 
to stop and rest. The beauties of California could 
not keep them, — they moved away to the forests of 
Oregon, and then returned again to the El Dorado 
ofthe coast; but no sooner had they settled there than 
the spirit of unrest came whispering "move on," and 
over the plains again they started; they were attacked 
by the Camanches in Texas, lost everything, and 
their little girl was scalped by the savages. Stopping 
for a time, they once more started for California 
and now are possibly moving to some new scene. 

The men ofthe party were: — 
'Capt. J. B. Bartelson; Captain of the party; re- 
turned to Missouri; is now dead. 
John Bidwell; lives at Chico. 
Joseph B. Childs; still alive. 

Josiah Belden; lives at San Jo3eand San Francisco. 
Charles M. Weber; died in Stockton, May 4, 1881. 
Charles Hopper; lives in Napa county. 
Henry Huber; lives in San Francisco. 
Mitchell Nye; had a ranch at Marysville; probably 

now alive. 
Green McMahon; lives in Solano county. 
Nelson McMahon; died in New York. 
Talbot H. Greene; returned East. 
Ambrose Walton; returned East. 
John McDonel; returned East. 
George Henshaw; returned East. 
Robert Ryckman; returned East. 
Wm. Betty or BelTy; returned East by way of 

Santa Fe. 
Charles Flugge; returned East. 
Gwin Patton; returned East; died in Missouri. 
Benjiman Kelsey; was within a few years in Santa 
Barbara county, or at Clear Lake, Lake county. 
Andrew Kelsey; killed by Indians at Clear Lake. 
James John or Littlejohn; went to Oregon. 
Henry Brolasky; went to Callao. 
James Dowson; drowned in Columbia river. 
Ma j. Walton; drowned in Sacramento river. 
George Shortwell; accidentally shot on the way 

JOHN SWARTz; died in California. 
Grove Cook; died in California. 
I). W. CHANDLER; went to Sandwich Islands. 
JNlCHOLAS Dawson; dead. 
Thomas Jones; dead. 

Robert H. Thomes; died in Tehama county, Cali- 
fornia, March .!(;, 1878. 
Elias Barnet. 
James P. Springer. 
John Rowland. 

They left Indpendence, Missouri, .May 8, 1841 and 
all traveled together as far as Fort Hall, near Salt 
Lake, where Capt. J. B. Bartelson's party, as named 
above, separated from the l'est and started for Cali- 
fornia, without a guide, by the way of Mary's (now 
HumboldC) river, they went to Carson river, and 
from the latter, to the main channel of Walker's 
river, up which they went to near its source, from 
which point they commenced their. passage of the 
Sierra Nevada, descending its western slope between 
the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers, reaching the 
San Joaquin valley and passing down along the 
Stanislaus, crossed the San Joaquin river and 
arrived at the Dr. Marshe ranch, near the east- 
ern base of Mount Diablo; on the 4th of November, 
1841, having been six months, lacking four days, on 
the way. Here the company rested for a number of 
days, and then disbanded, each going to the point 
in the country which his interests demanded. The 
Captain and a friend started for Sutter's Fort, having 
letters of introduction to Captain Sutter. They passed 
through the country now known as San Joaquin 
county, and beheld for the first time the land that 
the result of his own labors was to people within his 
life-time with thirty thousand souls. 

The Winter of 1841-2 was spent by the Captain at 
Sutter's Fort, occupying his. time by acting as over- 
seer and assistant for Captain Sutter. While at 
the fort he found a quantity of seeds which had 
been laid away and apparently forgotten. They had 
been sent to Sutter by Wm. G. Ray, of the Hudson 
Bay Company, as a friendly expression of good will. 
The Captain, desiring to try an experiment, had the 
land around the fort prepared b}^ Indians, and 
planted the seeds. Among them were three kinds of 
tobacco, a number of varieties of flowers, and some 
vegetables. The experiment proved a grand success, 
and in the Spring Sutter's Fort seemed like an en- 
chanted fortress built in the midst of perennial 

During the Avinter of 1841-2 Jose Jesus (pro- 
nounced Ho-za Ha-soos), the celebrated chief of the 
Si-yak-um-na tribe, visited the fort, at which time 
the Captain first met him. In after years there sprang 
up a warm friendship between these two men, that 
had much to do with the peaceable manner in which 
the country was afterwards settled by the whites. 
The Captain learned, in his intercourse with foreign- 
ers in the country, that there was germinating a prin- 
ciple or feeling which was in some localities freely 





talked of, to eventually Americanize California; 
and, concluded with that prospect to look forward 
to, that he was fully warranted in casting his des- 
tinies with the other venturesome spirits who had 
decided to make Alta California their future home. 

In the Spring he visited San Jose, and concluded 
to make that the point of his future business oper- 
ations, until the time should come, if ever, when it 
would become necessary to wrest from Mexico a 
portion of the country, over which to hoist a flag with 
the "lone star." 

We do not wish to be misunderstood in this 
matter. The intention of the leading pioneers of Cali- 
fornia, those who came here previous to June, 1846, 
with the intention of making this their home, with- 
out regard to their nationality, was to work a polit- 
ical change in the country, "peaceably if they could, 
forcibly if they must;" and this was to be done not 
because of any desire to injure the native Califor- 
nians, nor in a spirit of conquest, but because it was 
evident to those clear-headed Argonauts that to make 
the country a prosperous one, (one that would war- 
rant occupation by a people of progressive civiliza- 
tion), necessitated a radical change in the manner of 
administering the affairs of State. 

This change they proposed to effect in connection 
with the native inhabitants, if they could; and if this 
could not be done, to eventually, when they became 
strong enough, wrest a portion of the territory from 
Mexico, and form a government of their own. 

Captain Weber formed a copartnership with 
Guillermo Gulnac, and soon established a credit which 
enabled the firm to do a very large business. They 
were the first parties in that portion of the State to 
build a flouring mill and manufacture flour, combin- 
ing with the business the manufacture of sea-biscuit 
or crackers, this mill having been erected and flour 
made in 1842. They also entered quite largely into 
the manufacture of soap and American shoes, being 
the first manufacturers of the latter in California. 

In 1843, July 14th, Guillermo Gulnac petitioned 
Manuel Micheltorena, the Governor of California, for 
a grant of eleven square leagues, or forty-eight thou- 
sand acres of land, to be located in the vicinity of 
French Camp, in the San Joaquin valley. Captain 
Weber was the real party, the power behind the 
throne; Mr. Gulnac's name being used because he 
was a Mexican citizen, as only such could obtain 
grants. About this time the commercial partnership 
was dissolved, the Captain becoming the successor to 
the business, and Mr. Gulnac, his eldest son, Jose, 
and Peter Lassen, with several vaqueros, took the 
cattle belonging to them and Captain Weber, and 
proceeded to take possession of the applied-for grant, 
at first making their head-quarters where Stockton 
now is; but owing to the fact that the Hudson Bay 
trappers had left for the summer, they became 
alarmed for their personal safety among the Indians 
and moved their camp up to the Cosumnes river, so 
as to be in reach of Sutter's Fort for protection. Mr. 

Gulnac visited Captain Sutter, and was presented by 
that officer with a swivel gun such as the navy used 
in those days when attacking an enemy in small 
boats, mounting the swivel in the bow. This "young 
cannon"was to be used by Mr. Gulnac as a warning to 
the Indians to " flee from the wrath to come." It 
would make a " heap big noise" when fired, and was 
respected accordingly by the aborigines. 

A statement will probably come in no place more 
opportune than here, of the reason which caused 
Captain Weber to desire the location of his proposed 
grant on the "up country side of -the San Joaquin 
river." We have already given the political intentions 
of those pioneers which in 1843 had assumed so 
definite a form as to have caused the question 
to be discussed among them of where the division 
line was to be drawn between the Mexican prov- 
inces and the territory to be taken from them, 
in case it should result in that extreme measure ; 
and the conclusion had been tacitly arrived at 
that the San Joaquin river and the bays of San 
Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun were to form the 
line of division. It will therefore be seen that a 
strong reason for choosing a locality north of the 
San Joaquin was to secure land where he could 
gradually concentrate his property within the limits 
of the country to be acquired. Another reason, for 
selecting this special locality, was the facilities it 
would give him for dealing with the Hudson Bay 
trappers, who made their head-quarters every winter 
at French Camp, from whom, in exchange for fur, he 
obtained ammunition, blankets, clothing, etc., of a 
better quality and at lower figures than could be 
obtained elsewhere at that time. 

The attempt to settle the expected grant had failed 
because of the fears of Gulnac, and the Captain ob- 
tained a passport from the Alcalde of San Jose, and 
proceeded to visit Sutter's Fort, with a view of see- 
ing the Indian chief, Ha-soos, and making a treaty 
of peace with him, if possible. After arriving in the 
country, an Indian runner was sent to find the chief, 
and ask him to meet the Captain at a given time 
and place. A meeting was arranged, and at the 
appointed time the two men, representatives of their 
races in the country, met. Captain Weber ex- 
plained his plans to the Indian, stating that he was 
desirous of settling on land in the San Joaquin valley; 
that the Americans were desirous of being his allies 
and friends; that they were not coming to injure nor 
rob, but as friends to aid and benefit his tribe; that 
he wished to settle here to be beyond the reach of 
the Spaniards, in case of trouble between the Ameri- 
cans and native Californians, against whom this cele- 
brated chief was waging an endless war. The result 
was a friendly alliance that remained unbroken to the 
end. The chief advised the building of the American 
village at the point where it was located, the present 
site of Stockton, and agreed to provide all the help 
necessary in the tilling of the soil, and to furnish a 
war party when called upon to defend the settlers' 



property against either Indians or Mexicans. The 
Captain was generous in his presents, and a friend- 
ship was started at the interview that lasted during 
the life of Ha-soos, and the Captain now remembers 
the Si-yak-um-na chief as one of his most reliable 
and valued friends of early days. 

The inhabitants of to-day can little appreciate the 
importance at the time, and the immediate advantage 
accruing to the foreign population of the country 
resulting from that treaty. One may pass through 
the County of San Joaquin and ask the old settlers 
what they know of Ha-soos and his connection with 
this country in early days, and may find five persons 
in his travels that will remember the chief, and that 
he was friendly to the Americans; but they, with one 
exception, that of Capt. C. M. Weber, will give him 
no credit for being so, supposing that it was forced 
or indolent friendship. It has become popular with 
the historian, as well as the men of 1849 and later, to 
place the California Indians, in the scale of creation, 
but one step above the African gorilla. Whatever 
may have been the general rule, there certainly was 
an exception in favor of the aborigines occupying 
the territory between the Tuolumne andMokelumne 
rivers. These Indians were divided up into ranche- 
rias or villages, each village having its chief and 
name. Consequently there was a number of petty 
chiefs, but all acknowledge an indefinite but undis- 
puted supremacy and authority in the chief of the 
Si-yak-um-nas, Ho-za Ha-soos, who had made him- 
self a terror to the Spanish inhabitants of North 
California. His name was to the native population 
what Osceola's was to the Floridians, except that 
the former chief was less brutal than the latter. He 
did not scalp his victims, like the Seminole, nor seek 
the midnight massacre of isolated persons. 

He believed that he and his people had been 
wronged by the Spanish, and he would never smoke 
the pipe of peace with them. He would swoop down 
upon the plains and carry off their stock, taking it 
to his stronghold in the foot-hills of the Sierras; and 
if the missions or settlers of those valleys saw fit to 
attempt a rescue, he fought them, and was univers- 
ally victorious. The San Joaquin river divided his ter- 
ritory from the Californians, and when cast of that 
stream he was upon his native heath; and it was 
rare indeed that the pursuers followed him into his 
own country. They had learned better in their 
battle on the banks of the Stanislaus in 1829, when 
" Estanisloa," the former chief of the Si-yak-um-nas, 
defeated their combined San Jose and Yerba Buena 

It will be seen that Ho-za Ha-soos was so circum- 
stanced as to receive favorable advances from a peo- 
ple who gave as one of their reasons for desiring his 
friendship the probable hostility that might in the 
future exist between them and the Spanish people of 
the country. He believed that he was strengthening 
himself against his old foe. It will also be observed 
that the line beyond which the native Californians, 

even in armed parties, found it dangerous to pass, 
was tho San Joaquin river. Beyond this it was con- 
sidered and understood by them to be savage and 
inhospitable wilds. Ha-soos had made them respect 
that river as the practical north boundary line of their 
territory. Hence the propriety or policy of tho 
foreign population in selecting this river as the south 
boundaiy of the country they proposed, under cer- 
tain circumstances, to make into an independent 
state, along the borders of which they would have 
a picket line of Indian allies. 

In this connection we will mention two instances 
in which Ha-soos demonstrated his good will to the 
Americans, carrying out, on his part, the spirit of 
the alliance he had made with Captain Weber ; and 
we mention these with some hesitancy, not because 
of any doubt of the facts, but because it is hitherto 
unwritten history that may be questioned. The 
incidents referred to were related to us by Captain 
Weber, who says that when Captain Sutter passed 
through the country, in the Winter of 1844, to join 
and aid Manuel Micheltorena against the revolution- 
ary General, Jose Castro, Ha-soos joined him with a 
number of warriors. And later, when Gen. J. C. 
Fremont passed through the San Joaquin valley 
south, to help take this country from Mexico, that 
this chief was again on hand, and accompanied him 
to San Jose, to fight his old foes, in the interest of 
his friends, the Americans. Whether he actually 
performed any military act of hostility to the enemy 
on either occasion does not appear, but that he was 
ready so to do was demonstrated by his presence 
with his Avarriors. 

On the 13th of January, 1844, the Governor of 
California complied with the petition of Mr. Gulnac, 
and issued to him the grant of land known as "El 
Rancho del Campo de los Franceses," which in Eng- 
lish means " The French Camp Ranch." After the 
issuing of the grant, the next event worthy of note 
in the county was the passage through it of Capt. 
J. C. Fremont, who, on the 25th of March of that 
year, camped over night at the place since known 
as the village of Liberty, on the south side of Dry 
creek. It was in his memorable first expedition to 
the Pacific coast. He had been at Sutter's Fort re- 
cruiting and had started south on his way through 
the San Joaquin valley en route for the States. The 
following taken from the published history of his 
expedition, will have peculiar interest to the residents 
of this county: — 

"March 25th— We traveled for twenty- eight miles 
over the same delightful country as yesterday, and 
halted in a beautiful bottom at the ford of the Eio de 
los Mukelemnes, receiving its name from another 
Indian tribe living on the river. The bottoms on the 
stream are broad, rich, and extremely fertile ; and 
the uplands are shaded with oak groves. A showy 
lupinus of extraordinary beauty, growing four or 
five feet in height, and covered with spikes in bloom, 
adorned the banks of the river, and filled the air 
with a light and grateful perfume. 



"On the 26th we halted at the Arroyo delasGala/oeras 

(Skull creek), a tributary to the San Joaquin — the pre- 
vious two streams entering the bay between the San 
Joaquin and Sacramento rivers. This place is beau- 
tiful, with-open groves of oak, and a grassy sward be- 
neath, with many plants in bloom; some varieties of 
which seem to love the shade c*f the trees, and grow 
there in close, small fields. Near the river, and re- 
placing the grass, are great quantities of am/mole (soap 
plant), the leaves of which are used in California for 
making, among other things, mats for saddle cloths. 
A vine with a small white flower (melothria) called 
here la yerba buena, and which from its abundance, 
gives name to an island and town in the bay, was 
to-day very frequent on our road — sometimes running 
on the ground or climbing the trees. 

"March 27th — To-day we traveled steadily and 
rapidly up the valley ; for with our wild animals 
any other gait was impossible, and making about 
four miles an hour. During the earlier part of the 
day, our ride had been over a very level part of 
prairie, separated by lines and groves of oak timber, 
growing along dry gullies, which are filled with 
water in seasons of rain ; and, perhaps, also by the 
melting snows. Over much of this extent, the vege- 
tation was sparse ; the surface showing plainly the 
action of water, which, in the season of flood, the 
Joaquin spreads over the valley. At one o'clock we 
came again among innumerable flowers ; and a few 
miles further, fields of the beautiful blue flowering 
lupine, which seems to love the neighborhood of 
water, indicated that we were approaching a stream. 
We have found this beautiful shrub in thickets, some 
of them being twelve feet in height. Occasionally 
three or four plants were clustered together, forming 
a grand bouquet, about ninety feet in circumference, 
and ten feet high ; the whole summit covered with 
spikes of flowers, the perfume of which is very sweet 
and grateful. A lover of natural beauty can imagine 
with what pleasure we rode among these flowering 
groves, which filled the air with a light and delicate 
fragrance. We continued our road for about half a 
mile, interspersed through an open grove of live- 
oaks, which, in form, were the most symmetrical and 
beautiful we had yet seen in the country. The ends 
of their branches rested on the ground forming some- 
what more than a half sphere of very full and regu- 
lar figure, with leaves apparently smaller than usual. 
The Calif'ornian poppy, of a rich orange color, was 
numerous. To-day, elk and several bands of ante- 
lope made their appearance. 

"Our road was now one continued enjoyment; and 
it was pleasant, riding among this assemblage of 
green pastures with varied flowers and scattered 
groves, and out of the warm, green Spring, to look at 
the rocky and snowy peaks, where lately we had 
suffered so much. Emerging from the timber Ave 
Came suddenly upon the Stanislaus river, where we 
hoped to find a ford, but the stream was flowing by, 
dark and deep, swollen by the mountain snows ; its 
general breadth was about fifty yards. 

" We traveled about five miles up the river, and 
encamped without being able to find a ford. Here 
we made a large corral, in order to be able to catch a 
sufficient number of our wild animals to relieve 
those previously packed. 

" Under the shade of the oaks, along the river, 1 
iioticed erodium cicutarium iu bloom, eight or ten 
inches high. This is the plant which we had seen 
the squaws gathering on the Rio de los Americanos. 
By the inhabitants of the valley, it is highly esteemed 
lor fattening cattle, which appear to be very fond of 

it. Here, where the soil begins to be sandy, it 
supplies to a considerable extent the want of grass. 

"Desirous, as far as possible, without delay, to 
include in our examination the Joaquin river, I 
returned this morning down the Stanislaus, for 
seventeen miles, and again encamped without having 
found a fording-place. After following it for eight 
miles further the next morning, and finding ourselves 
' in the vicinity of the San Joaquin, encamped in a 
handsome oak grove, and, several cattle being killed, 
we ferried over our baggage in their skins. Here our 
Indian boy, who probably had not much idea of 
where he was going, and began to be alarmed at the 
many streams we were putting between him and the 
village, deserted. 

" Thirteen head of cattle took a sudden fright, 
while we were driving them across the river, and 
galloped off. I remained a day in the endeavor to 
recover them; but finding they had taken the trail 
back to the fort, let them go without further effort. 
Here we had several days of warm and pleasant rain, 
which doubtless saved the crops below.'' 

In August, 1844, David Keisey, with his wife and 
two children, a boy and a girl, settled at French 
Camp, and built a tule-house. Mr. Gulnac, who was 
stopping at the Cosumnes river, had offered to give 
Mr. Keisey a mile square of land if he would stop at 
that place, and live one year; he turned over to him 
the "swivel" that Sutter bad given bim. Every 
night Mr Keisey threw this piece of ordnance "into 
battery," and fired an evening gun; which he did to 
frighten the Indians, on the same principle that a boy 
sometimes whistles as he is going through the woods 
after dark. At that time there was only one other 
house in the county, also constructed of tule, occu- 
pied by Thomas Lindsay, at Stockton. 

Mr. Keisey remained for several months at that 
place, and after his family had been obliged to live 
for two months on boiled wheat, meat, milk, and 
mint tea, gathered along the banks of the creek, he 
buried the swivel and removed temporarily to San 
Jose, where he first saw Captain Weber. While at 
that place he unfortunately went to see a sick Indian 
who had the small-pox, just before returning to 
French Camp. After returning he was immediately 
taken sick, and Mrs. Keisey desired to take him to 
Sutter's Fort, where he could have medical assist- 
ance, not knowing that he had the small-pox. When 
they reached Stockton, Mr. Lindsay induced them 
to stay over night, and while there a man by the name 
of James Williams gave him some medicine that 
caused the disease to break out. Lindsay immedi- 
ately vacated the premises, giving, as he left, advice 
that has a twang of barbarism in it; he told them if 
the old man died to leave his bodj" where the coyotes 
would devour it. In about six days the father died, 
the mother and boy were prostrated with the same 
disease, and little America, a girl eleven }-ears of age, 
was left alone with her sick mother and brother, to 
administer to their wants, while her dead father lay 
unburied in the hut; a sad introduction to the first 
American girl who ever saw the place where Stock- 
ton now stands, and a sadder one to the first white 



woman that visited the place; for the mother became 
blind from tbo effects of the disease, beholding that 
delirious, weird scene of pestilence and death as the 
last, to haunt the memory through the coming years 
of darkness; a hideous phantom, a scene of desola- 
tion, was that last look of the mother upon the sur- 
roundings of that little child nurse. 

Some herders chanced to come that way, who, 
after considerable hesitation, assisted little America 
in burying her father. One of them, Geo. F. Wyman, 
afterwards became the husband of America. The 
reason why they hesitated in coming to her assist- 
ance was a double one, — they feared the contagion 
and Captain Sutter, who had said he would have any 
man shot who brought small-pox to the fort, or went 
among the Indians who had it. The father was bur- 
ied near where Col. Thos. R. Moseley's house now 
stands, and in a few days the little nurse was stricken 
down with the dread disease, but recovered so as to 
be able to leave for Monterey in about six weeks. 
In about two weeks after they left, Thomas Lindsay 
returned to his house on Lindsay's Point, in Stock- 
ton, and was killed by the Luck-lum-na Indians, 
from lone valley, in Amador county, who fired the 
tule-house with their victim's body in it, and drove 
off all the stock. A party of whites, Mexicans and 
friendly Indians, went in pursuit of the band who 
had committed the depredations, and overtook them 
at the place called the " Island," near the foot-hills, 
where a conflict occurred, resulting in the burning 
of the Indian rancheria, with what provisions and 
property they had, the killing of a few of the war- 
riors of the hostile tribe, and the capture of one 
Indian boy by William Daylor, of Daylor's ranch ; one 
Mexican by the name of Yaca, a member of the Yaca 
family, formerly of Solano county, was killed by the 
Indians in the fight. After this defeat they retreated 
into the mountains, where they were followed, but 
not overtaken.* 

*Since the foregoing was written in 1879, some further facts 
have come to our knowledge, which not only puts this matter in 
a different light but also demonstrates the difficulty of making 
the first attempt at writing history succsssful. 

D. T. Bird, who, at one time, was an officer in the California 
battalion under Fremont, during the hostilities that succeeded 
the Bear Flag war, says that he was one of the parties that pur- 
sued the Indians who murdered Lindsay at Stockton, and he 
takes the poetry all out of the conclusion given to that expedi- 
tion. Instead of the Luck-lum-na Indians of lone valley being 
chastised, they whipped the pursuing party (about thirty strong, 
half whites and half friendly Indians), who were under the com- 
mand of Captain Merrit, of Bear Flag fame. Captain Sutter 
organized the pursuing party, and among the white men accom- 
panying it, were Captain Merrit, D. T. Bird, Charles Heath, 
Vaca (a Spaniard), Hicks and Gillespie. The fight was a short 
one resulting in Vaca's receiving a mortal wound from an arrow 

The small-pox and the breaking out of the Mich- 
cltorena war, combined, had depopulated the county. 

There had been, in the latter part of 1844, and 
Spring of 1845, a serious departure by the foreign 
population of the country from their understood pol- 
icy, in their intercourse with the natives of Cali- 
fornia; which was a policy of non-intervention 
between opposing factions of the country, that had 
been decided upon and agreed to between the lead- 
ing men, as being the best calculated to produce the 
final result at which they were aiming. Let the 
Spanish population quarrel to their hearts' content, 
let civil war sweep over the country, and array the 
opposing factions against each other on the battle- 
field; it helped to prepare the people of all classes, 
foreign and native, for a change; but in every emer- 
gency the American, the German, the Englishman, 
the immigrant, whatever his native land was to hold 
himself aloof, reserving his strength to be used as 
one man for the general good of all, when the proper 
time should come to act. All over California, from 
Los Angeles to Monterey, and from Monterey to 
Sutter's Fort, the foreign population were few in 
numbers, one and two, sometimes a half-dozen in a 
place, so scattered and so isolated that a false move 
on the part of a few might prove fatal to many; it 
consequently was important at that time that the 
policy of non-interference should be pursued. Yet, 
as we have previously mentioned, a serious depart- 
ure from that policy was inaugurated in the Michel- 
torena war, without, apparently, any general con- 
sultation or plan on the part of immigrants, those of 
each section or country marking out their own line 
of action, regardless of the probable consequent 
injury that might result to those of a different 

The first instance was that forced upon Capt. C. 
M. Weber, consequent from the loss of control, by 
Micheltorena, over the outlaws called soldiers, whom 
he commanded in 1844. The Captain was in busi- 
ness at the Pueblo of San Jose when the war broke 
out, and was acquainted with and personally friendly 
to both Micheltorena and Castro. He had a very 
large stock of goods in the place, and was anxious 
on account of it. He knew that the soldiers under 
Micheltorena were mostly convicts, turned loose 
from the prisons in Mexico, and were dependent 
upon the meager revenue derived from forced 
loans and plunder for their pay. His goods 

that entered his side. In attempting to draw it from his body, 
the arrow-head was broken from the shaft, and in an hour the 
unfortunate man was dead. Up to the time of his death they 
managed to hold their position, when, finding the enemy too 
strong for them, the body of the dead Spaniard was laid upon a 
pile of brush and burned, to prevent its falling into the hands of 
the savages; after which they stole away in the darkness, and 
reached Sutter's Fort without unneccs-ary delay. 



would be a rich prize, and if they once entered San 
Jose, they would be sure to help themselves to 
what he had; consequently all his interests were 
opposed to the occupation of the town by such a 
body of men. As Micheltorcna advanced, Jose Cas 
tro became alarmed, and, leaving San Jose to its fate, 
retreated up the valley towards Oakland- with his 
forces; whereupon Captain Weber addressed a com- 
munication to the commander of the advancing 
forces, stating that Castro had left San Jose, and 
asked him if he would not pass to one side of the 
pueblo, and not enter it with his troops. Michelto- 
rena replied that he found it necessary to pass 
through San Jose in his pursuit of Castro. In the 
meantime the Captain received prompt information 
to the effect that the Governor had lost control of 
his soldiery, who insisted on entering the village for 
plunder; whereupon the Captain caused the tocsin 
of Avar to be sounded through' the streets. The 
people assembled, and the Captain presented the 
position of affairs, and told them that he believed, 
with a force composed of the citizens and foreigners 
in the place, the advancing army could be checked, 
and forced to take a different route in their line of 
march after Castro. A company was immediately 
formed, placed under his command, and moved out 
to meet the enemy, a handful against a host. Send- 
ing a courier in advance to meet Micheltorena, advis- 
ing him of what he was doing, and that it was 
done, not in a spirit of opposition to him personally, 
or the cause which he represented, but with a deter- 
mination to protect their homes from plunder. The 
forces met some twelve miles out from the village, 
and for several days the entire army, numbering 
several hundred, was held in check by this little band 
of brave men under Captain Weber. Castro, hear 
ing of the fact, became ashamed of himself, turned 
back from his retreat, joined the Captain with his 
forces, took command of the army, and forced 
Micheltorena to surrender, and, finally, to agree to 
leave California and return to Mexico. For the time 
this ended the war. It was again revived by Mich- 
eltorena, who faHed to comply with his agreement 
when he learned that Capt. John A. Sutter could be 
relied upon for assistance. Sutter, wishing to retain 
the old regime until his land titles were perfected, 
in December, 1844, marched to the lower country 
with his deluded followers, being met on the way, 
at the residence of Dr. John Marshe, by J. Alex. 
Forbes, of tbe Hudson Bay Company, who tried to 
dissuade him from proceeding further with the 
enterprise, but without avail, telling the Captain at 
the same time that in General Castro's army was a 
large number of Americans, and that his act was ar- 
raying the foreign-born population against each other. 
Sutter's reply to all was that he had gone too far to 
withdraw without discredit to himself. He pushed 
on towards the south, and his men, suspecting some- 
thing wrong, began to desert until but few remained. 
Finally, when the hostile armies stood face to face, a 

parley was insisted upon, and it was found that the 
foreigners were fighting in the ranks of both armies; 
after which, Sutter had, practically, no followers, 
and fell, finally, into the hands of Castro, who, but 
for the strong intervention of friends, would have 
had him shot. 

' This unfortunate proceeding was the second breach 
in the policy of non-intervention; and it came so 
near becoming disastrous, that it called forth an ex- 
pression of disapprobation for the course pursued; 
such a policy continued would Mexicanize the Amer- 
icans, not Americanize the Mexicans. The result 
was that the narrow escape demonstrated the neces- 
sity of an organized plan of action, so that in future 
they might be well advised of all contemplated 
movements, and act together as a body and thus 
make themselves felt, instead of exj^ending their 
force against each other. With a view of accom- 
plishing this object, and thus pave the way for the 
future segregation of California from Mexico, a call 
was written, subscribed and circulated. * * * * 

For various causes there was not as formidable a 
gathering as was desired at the time designated,* and 
the meeting only included those within easy reach 
of San Jose; there was consequently nothing of 
importance accomplished, and there was a failure to 
obtain a general organization; but the purposes of 
the foreign population remained unchanged, and 
culminated, finally, in the hoisting of the " Bear 
Flag," which, but for the United States taking the 
struggle off their hands, would have proved to be 
what it was in fact, a premature move. It was 
entered upon without general consultation or ma- 
tured plan, and but- for the occupation of the coun- 
try by the United States, which occurred a little 
later, would have proved disastrous to many for- 
eigners living farther south, who were wholly 
unadvised in regard to the movement. Had the 
organization been made as was contemplated by the 
signers of the instrument, the Bear Flag would never 
have been raised, but without the intervention of the 
United States it would have resulted in taking the 
country from Mexico, making San Joaquin one of the 
frontier counties of the State. 

It is not the purpose of this work to give a State 
history, therefore we return to the march of events 
in San Joaquin, having followed those occurrences 
outside only which had a direct bearing upon the 
history of this county. 

On the third day of April, 1845, C. M. Weber 
purchased of Mr. Gulnac the remaining interest in 
the French Camp Grant, Mr. Weber becoming its 
sole owner; but no further attempt was made at 
settlement until 1846, when he induced a number of 
settlers, under the leadership of Napoleon Schmidt, 
to locate. They had no sooner become settled in 
their new homes than the Avar-cloud burst, which 
had been hanging over the country, and the settlers 

* July 4, 1845. 



again scattered to locations where they would be 
loss isolated in case of an attack by the Mexicans. 

In November, 1846, the Isbel brothers took up 
land on the Calaveras, that stream dividing their 
ranches or claims; Dr. I. C. Isbel occupying the 
north, and his brother James the south side ol 
the " river of skulls," where Fremont had crossed 
it in 18-14. The doctor erected a log cabin near the 
river, which is still standing. It is the oldest house 
in the county, in fact the oldest in the San Joaquin 
valley, and should be preserved as a relic of the 
past. The same month and year, Turner Elder 
erected a cabin on Dry creek, where the village of 
Liberty was afterwards laid out. Mr. Elder was a 
married man, and had brought his wife and three 
little children with him to this country. On the 
opposite, or north side of the creek, and a little 
further down, his father-in-law, Thomas Rhodes, 
located. Thomas Pyle settled at what is now 
known as Staples' Ferry, in the »ame year and 
month, with his family — a wife and two children. It 
was during the month of November, 1846, that 
Samuel Brannan established his colony on the Stan- 
islaus, about one and one-half miles above its mouth, 
calling the place " Stanislaus City. 

It will be observed that during this year, two dis- 
tinct colonies were established, and four ranches 
taken up in San Joaquin county, at the points where 
the old Spanish trail, between Sutter's Fort and San 
Jose, crossed the several streams in the county. 
This was a strong demonstration toward settlement. 
Weber's party had left at the first notes of alarm ; 
Samuel Brannan's colony remained until the follow- 
ing Spring, and then all left, except Buckland — leav- 
ing only the ranchers on the Spanish trail and 
Buckland, as the inhabitants to dispute possession 
of the county with the Indians. The five settlers 
remaining were Dr. I. C. Isbel, and his brother, 
James, on the Calaveras; Thomas Pyle, on the 
Mokelumne; Turner Elder, on Dry creek; and 
Buckland, on the Stanislaus. 

*Dr. Isbel retained his claim until 1848, when he 
sold to the Hutchinson brothers, and they in turn 
to Mr. Dodge. 

Thomas Pyle abandoned his place in 1848, and 
moved to Coyote creek, near San Jose, where he 
was shot through the head and killed, about 1855, 
by a young Spaniard. A man by the name of Smith 
took up the place, claiming a grant, and sold to John 
F., the brother of Thomas Pyle, and John W. Laird, 
who had married one of his sisters. These parties 
sold to Staples, Nichols & Co., in February, and 
moved from there in April, 1850. Mr. Laird died 
near Grayson, in May, 1878; and J. F. Pyle is still 
living on his ranch, near Wclden, on Kern river, 

Turner Elder lived at Dry creek about one 

* Dr. Isbel is mentioned in another part of the history in con- 
nection with a mob affair in the western part of the county 
(Amador). He resided in Volcano, in 1855. 

year, and then moved on to the north bank of the 
Mokelumne river, at the place afterwards known as 
the "Benedict Ranch,'' and, while there, on the 
fifth day of November, 1847, his wile presented him 
with a pair of twins, a boy and girl, who were named 
John and Nancy. These were the second children 
born of white parents in the county. Soon after the 
birth of these children, on account of the unpro- 
tected position, Mr. Elder abandoned his place and 
joined his brother-in-law Daylor, of the Daylor 
ranch, in Sacramento county. lie afterwards made 
money in placer mining, and returned to Ray count}', 
Missouri, in 1849, where he now lives. The children 
are both living; the girl in Pay county, as the wife 
of a Dr. Reese; and the boy, now married, at Emi-. 
grant's Ditch, in Fresno county, California — his post- 
office address being "Kingsbury Switch." 

Mr. Buckland, of Stanislaus City, moved from 
there to Stockton, in the fall of 1847. Assisted by 
"William Fairchilds, he afterwards built the Buck- 
land House, in San Francisco. Of the Stanislaus 
City settlers, the only ones known to be living now 
are Samuel Brannan, of San Francisco, John M. 

Horner, near San Jose, and Nichols, of San 


When, in the Fall of 1847, Turner Elder left his log- 
house and claim at Dry creek, Mrs. Christina Pat- 
terson, his aunt, moved into it — her husband having 
died of mountain fever while crossing the mountains 
in 1846. She was soon after married to Ned Robin- 
son. This was the first marriage ceremony performed 
in the county. Mr. Robinson, in turn, abandoned the 
place when gold was discovered, in January, 1848, 
and in 1878 they were stopping at French Camp, for 
the Winter, on their way to the northern country. 

Captain Weber, in the meantime, had been living 
at San Jose from 1842 to 1847,. following his business 
of merchandizing, and not giving personal attention 
to the settlement of his grant. During the year 
1847 he sold his stock of goods, and in August of 
that year, with a number of men, two hundred 
horses and four thousand cattle, moved to the San 
Joaquin, and founded a settlement which became 
permanent; Stockton being the point and result of 
his efforts. In the Fall, the grant was surveyed and 
sectionized by Jasper O'Farrell, thi-ough his deputy, 
Walter Herron; a village site being at the same time 
laid out for settlers' homes, which received the name 
of "Tuleburg." Coming events had not yet "cast 
their shadows before." The village plat of Tule- 
burg, and the name, both passed out of existence at 
the same time, when, in 1848, after the gold discov- 
ery, the place was re-surveyed and laid out for com- 
mercial purposes by Captain Weber, who gave it the 
name of Stockton, after Com. Robert Stockton, of the 
United States navy. 

In October, 1847, a company of overland immi- 
grants arrived at the place, on their way to the lower 
country. Mr. Weber pursuaded them to stop for a 
time and look over *the valley, to see if they would 



not consider it to their advantage to remain. W. H. 
Fairchilds, County Supervisor in 1878, was of this 
party, as well as Nicholas Gann and his wife, Ruth, 
who, while they were camping on the point where 
Weber's house now stands, in October, gave birth to 
a son, to whom they gave the name of William. 
This was the first child born of white parents in the 
county. With the exception of Mr. Fairchilds, the 
parties all decided to move farther south. Mr. 
Nicholas Gann now lives not far from Gilroy, in 
Santa Clara county, California. 

It was during that year that Capt. Charles 
Imus undertook to carry out a " wild horse scheme." 
He selected a point on the San Joaquin river, where 
San Joaquin City now stands, which he considered 
favorable, and then went to the mountains west of 
the valley and commenced cutting timber, to build a 
corral, into which he proposed driving wild horses, 
and there to capture them; when Pico, on whose 
grant he was cutting the timber, put a stop to his 
visions of corraling the " untamed steeds of the 
desert;" by singing to him the pathetic song of 
" Woodman, Spare that Tree," and the Captain, not 
caring to verify the old saw of " a nod is na sa good 
as a kick for a blind horse," folded up his tent like 
the Arab, and departed into the lower country. 
Captain Imus was the leader of the party that 
crossed the plains in 1846, of which the Pyles, Isbels, 
Elders, and Rhodes were members. 

The history of San Joaquin county, up to the close 
of 1847, has been given in the preceding pages as 
completely as it is possible to get it from the memory 
of the participants who still survive. The only 
occupants of this section of country, up to that time, 
had first been the Indians, then the American 
trappers, followed by the Hudson Bay Company, 
who were succeeded in turn by the Americans, who 
came from the States, with a view of making for 
themselves and families permanent homes. 

But a change, absolute and radical, lay hid in 
the near future. On the line that separated the 
year 1847, and what had preceded it, from " the 
future that was not yet," stands a mile-post that 
"Time," set by the wayside, which marks the 
beginning of a year, in which was wrought a 
change as absolute, in the march of human events, 
and the destinies of this coast, as would ordinarily 
have occurred in the passing of a century. 




His Nativity — Migration to the American West — Arrival in Cal- 
ifornia — Foundation of Sutter's Fort — Prosperity and 
Wealth of the Colony — Decline and Ultimate Ruin — Retire- 
ment to Hock Farm — Extract from Sutter's Diary. 

The following sketch of the life and adventures of 
General John A. Sutter is from Oscar T. Shuck's 
"Representative Men of the Pacific." The facts 
were derived directly from the famous old pioneer, 
and are, perhaps, the most complete and accurate 
that have ever been published. Mr. Shuck says: — 

" General John A. Sutter was born March 1, 1803, 
in the Grand Duchj^ of Baden, where his early boy- 
hood was passed. His father, who was a clergyman 
of the Lutheran church, afterwards removed to 
Switzerland, and settled there with his family. He 
purchased for himself and heirs the rights and immu- 
nities of Swiss citizenship, and there the subject of 
our sketch received a good education, both civil and 

" Early in life he married a Bernese lady, and was 
blessed with several children. At the age of thirty- 
one he determined to gratify a desire he had long 
cherished to immigrate to the United States. Not 
knowing whether or not he should settle perma- 
nently in the Great Republic, he concluded to leave 
his family behind him, and arrived at New York in 
July, 1834. After visiting several of the Western 
States he settled in Missouri, and there resided for 
several years. During his residence in Missouri he 
made a short visit to New Mexico, where he met 
with many trappers and hunters who had returned 
from Upper California, and their glowing descrip- 
tions confirmed his previous impressions, and ex- 
cited an ardent desire to behold and wander over 
the rich lands and beautiful valleys of that then 
almost unknown region. Upon returning to Mis- 
souri he determined to reach the Pacific coast by 
joining some one of the trapping expeditions of the 
American or English Fur Companies. But great 
obstacles were to be surmounted, and long years 
were to intervene before his feet would rest upon 
the virgin soil of California. On the 1st of April, 
1838, he was enabled, for the first time, to connect 
himself with a trapping expedition. On that day 
he left Missouri with Captain Tripp, of the American 
Fur Company, and traveled with his party to their 
rendezvous in the Rocky Mountains. There he 
parted with the expedition, and with six horsemen 
crossed the mountains, and, after encountering the 
usual dangers and hardships, arrived at Fort Van- 
couver, on the Columbia river. 

"Having learned that there was no land communica- 
tion with California from the valleys of the Columbia 
or Willamette in Winter, and there being then a ves- 
sel of the Hudson Bay Company ready to sail for 
the Sandwich Islands, General Sutter took passage, 
hoping to find at the islands some means of convey- 
ance to California. Only one of the men who had 
remained with him thus far consented to accompany 
him to the strange land. On reaching the islands 
he found no prospect of conveyance, and, after 
remaining five months, as the only means of accom- 
plishing his purpose, ho shipped as supercargo, with- 
out pay, on an English vessel bound lor Sitka. 

'•After discharging her cargo at Sitka, and. with 
the authority of the owners, he directed the vessel 
southward, and sailed down the coast, encountering 



heavy gales. He was driven into the Bay of San 
Francisco in distress, and, on the second day of July, 
L839, anchored his little craft opposite Verba Buena, 
now San Francisco. 

" lie was immediately waited upon by a Mexican 
official with an armed force, and ordered to leave 
without delay, the officer informing him that Mon- 
terey was the port of entry. He succeeded, however, 
in obtaining permission to remain forty-eight hours 
to get supplies. 

" A few days later, upon arriving at Monterey, 
General Sutter waited upon Governor Alvarado, and 
communicated to him his desire to settle in Upper Cal- 
ifornia, on the Sacramento. Governor Alvarado 
expressed much satisfaction upon learning his visit- 
or's wish, particularly Avhen he understood his desire 
to settle-on the Sacramento; saying that the Indians 
in that quarter were very hostile, and Avould not 
permit any whites to settle there; that they robbed 
the inhabitants of San Jose and the lower settle- 
ments of horses and cattle. He readily gave Sutter 
a passport, with authority to settle on any territory 
he should deem suitable for his colony, and requested 
him to return to Monterey one year from that time, 
when his Mexican citizenship would be acknowl- 
edged, and he would receive a grant for the land he 
might solicit. Thereupon, he returned to Yerba 
Buena and chartered a schooner, with 'some small 
boats, and started upon an exploring expedition on 
the Sacramento river. 

" Upon inquiry he could not find any one at Yerba 
Buena who had ever seen the Sacramento river, or 
who could describe to him where he should find its 
mouth. The people of that place only professed to 
know that some large river emptied into one of the 
connected bays l} T ing northerly from their town. 
General Sutter consumed eight days in the effort to 
find the mouth of the Sacramento river. 

" After ascending the river to a point about ten 
miles below where Sacramento City now stands, he 
encountered the first large party of Indians, who 
exhibited every sign of hostility save an actual 
attack. There were about two hundred of them, 
armed and painted for war. Fortunately there were 
among them two who understood Spanish, and with 
whom the General engaged in conversation. He 
quieted them by the assurance that there were no 
Spaniards in his party, and that he wished to settle 
in their country and trade with them. He showed 
them his agricultural implements and commodities 
of trade, which he had provided for the purpose, 
and proposed to make a treaty with them. Pleased 
with these assurances, the Indians became recon- 
ciled; the crowd dispersed, and the two who spoke 
the Spanish language accompanied Sutter and his 
party as far as the mouth of Feather river, to 
show him the country. All other parties of Indians 
seen fled at the sight of the vessel and boats. 

" Parting with his two Indian interpreters and 
"•uides at the mouth of Feather river, he ascended 
the latter stream to a considerable distance, when a 
few of his white men became alarmed at the sur- 
rounding dangers and insisted upon returning, which 
he was constrained to do. 

" On his descent he entered the mouth of the 
American river, and on the 15th day of August, 
1839, landed at the point on the south bank of that 
stream, where he afterwards established his tannery, 
within the present limits of Sacramento. On the 
following morning, after landing all his effects, he 
informed the discontented whites that all who 
wished to return to Yerba Buena could do so; 

that the Kanakas were willing to remain, and that 
he had resolved to do so, if alone. Three of the 
whites determined to leave, and he put them in pos- 
session of the schooner, with instructions to deliver 
t lie vessel to her owners. They set sail for Yerba 
Buena the same day. 

"Three weeks thereafter General Sutter removed 
to the spot upon which he afterwards erected Fort 
Sutter. In the early days of the settlement he 
encountered many troubles with the Indians, who 
organized secret expeditions, as he afterwards 
learned, to destroy him and his party, but he con- 
trived to defeat and frustrate all their machinations, 
and those of the Indians who were at first his great- 
est enemies, came to be his best and most steadfast 
friends. He now devoted himself energetically to 
agriculture, and became very wealthy and pros- 

" In the Fall of the year 1839, he purchased of 
Senor Martinez three hundred head of cattle, thirty 
horses, and thirty mares. During the Fall eight 
more white men joined his colony. When he com- 
menced the improvements that resulted in the erec- 
tion of Sutter's Fort and his establishment there, he 
had much trouble in procuring suitable lumber and 
timber. He floated some down the American river 
from the mountains, and was compelled to send to 
Bodega, on the sea-coast, a distance of several hun- 
dred miles. 

"In August, 1840, Sutter was joined by the five 
men who had crossed the Rocky Mountains with him, 
and whom he had left in Oregon. His colony now 
numbered twenty-five men, seventeen whites and 
eight Kanakas. During the Fall of that year the 
Mokelumne Indians became troublesome, by stealing 
the live-stock of the settlers, and compelled General 
Sutter, by their acts and menaces, to make open war 
against them. He marched with his forces thirty 
miles, in the night time, to the camp of the Indians, 
where they were concentrating large forces for a 
movement against him, some two hundred warriors, 
and attacked them with such great effect that they 
retreated, and being hotly pursued, they sued for 
peace, which was readily granted, and ever after- 
wards mutually maintaine'd. 

" Shortly after this encounter, Sutter purchased 
one thousand more head of cattle, and seventy-five 
horses and mules. His colony continued to increase 
fast, by the addition of every foreigner who came 
into the country; they sought his place as one of 
security. The trappers he furnished with supplies, 
and purchased their furs; the mechanics and laborers 
he either employed or procured them wOi*k. 

" In June, 1841, he visited Monterey, the capital, 
where he was declared a Mexican citizen, and 
received from Governor Alvarado a grant for his 
land, # under the name of New Helvetia, a survey of 
which he had caused to be made before that time. 
Thereupon he was honored with a commission as 
' represendente del Govierno en las fronter as del 
norte y encargado de la justicia.' 

" Soon after his return to his settlement he was 
visited by Captain Ringgold, of the United States 
Exploring Expedition under Commodore Wilkes, and 
about the same time by Alexander Rotcheff, Gov- 
ernor of the Russian Possessions, Ross and Bodega, 
who offered to sell to General Sutter the Russian 
Possessions, settlements, and ranches at those places. 

" The terms were such as induced him to make the 
purchase, forthirty thousand dollars. The live-stock 
consisted of two thousand cattle, over one thousand 
horses, fifty mules, and two thousand sheep, the 



greater part of which were driven to New Helvetia. 
This increase of resources, together with the natural 
increase of his stock, enabled him the more rapidly 
to advance his settlement and improvements. 

" In the year 1844 he petitioned Governor Miehel- 
torena for the grant or purchase of the sobrante, or 
surplus, over the first eleven leagues of the land 
within the bounds of the survey accompanying 
(he Alvarado grant, which the Governor agreed to 
let him have; but, for causes growing out of existing 
political troubles, the grant was not finally executed 
until the 5th of February, 1845; during which time 
lie had rendered valuable military services and ad- 
vanced to the Government large amounts of property 
and outlays, exceeding eight thousand dollars, to 
enable it to suppress the Castro rebellion; in consid- 
eration of all which he acquired by purchase and 
personal services the lands called the Sobrante, or 

"At that time he also secured from Governor 
Micheltorena the commission of ' Commandantc mili- 
tar de las fronteras del norte y encargado de la 
justicia.' After this time the .war between the 
United States and Mexico came on, and although 
General Sutter was an officer under the Mexican 
Government, and bound to it by his allegiance, yet, 
upon all occasions, 'such was his respect towards the 
citizens and institutions of the United States, that 
whenever any party of American citizens, civil or 
military service, visited him, his unbounded hospitali- 
ties were uniformly and cordially extended to them; 
and when the country surrendered to the American 
forces, the General, who had been for some time con- 
vinced of the instability of the Mexican Government, 
upon request, did, on the 11th of July, 1846, hoist 
the American flag with a good heart, accompanied 
with a salute of artillery from the guns at the fort. 
Soon after this Lieutenant Missoon, of the United 
States Navy, came up and organized a garrison for 
Sutter's Fort, principally out of his former forces of 
whites and Indians, and gave to General Sutter the 
command, Avhich he maintained until peace returned. 
He was then appointed by Commodore Stockton 
Alcalde of the district, and by General Kearney 
Indian Agent, with a salary of seven hundred and 
fifty dollars a year; but a single trip in discharge of 
his duty as Indian Agent cost him one thousand six 
hundred dollars, and he resigned the office. 

"General Sutter was now in the full tide of pros- 
perity. His settlement continued to grow and his 
property to accumulate, until the latter part of 
January, 1848. He had then completed his estab- 
lishment at the fort ; had performed all the condi- 
tions of his grants of land; had, at an expense of at least 
twenty-five thousand dollars, cut a race of three 
miles in length, and nearly completed a flouring-mill 
near the present town of Brighton ; had expended 
towards the erection of a saw-mill, near the town of 
Coloma, about ten thousand dollars; had sown over a 
thousand acres of land in wheat which promised a yield 
of forty thousand bushels, and had made preparations 
for other crops; was then the owner of eight thou- 
sand head of cattle, over two thousand horses and 
mules, over two thousand sheep, and one thousand 
head of hogs, and was in the undisturbed, undisputed 
and quiet possession of the extensive lands granted 
by the Mexican Government. But a sad change was 
about to take place in the affairs of the old pioneer ; 
a grand event was about to transpire, which, while it 
would delight and electrify the world at large, was 
destined to check the growth of the settlement at 
Suiter's Fort. General Sutler's mills were soon to 

cease operations; his laborers and mechanics were soon 
to desert him ; his possessions, his riches, his hopes 
were soon to be scattered and destroyed before the 
impetuous charge of the gold-hunters. The immedi- 
ate effect was that Sutter was deserted by all his 
mechanics and laborers, white, Kanaka and Indian. 
The mills thus deserted became a dead loss; he could 
not hire labor to further plant or mature his crops, 
or reap but a small part after the grain had ripened. 
Few hands were willing to work for even an ounce a 
day, as the industrious could make more than that 
in the mines. Consequent of the gold discovery 
there was an immense immigration, composed of all 
classes of men, many of whom seemed to have no idea 
of the rights of property. The treaty between the 
United States and Mexico guaranteed to the Mexican 
who should remain in the country a protection of his 
property, and Sutter regarded himself as doubly 
entitled to that protection, either as a Mexican or a 
citizen of the United States, and that he held a 
strong claim upon his country's justice. His property 
was respected for a season; but when the great flood 
of immigration, which poured into the country in 
1849-'50, found that money could be made by other 
means than mining, many of the new-comers forcibly 
entered upon his land, and commenced cutting his 
wood, under the plea that it was vacant and unappro- 
priated land of the United States. Up to the first of 
January, 1852, the settlers had occupied all his lands 
capable of settlement or appropriation, and the other 
class had stolen all his horses, mules, cattle, sheep 
and hogs, save a small portion used and sold by him- 
self. One party of five men, during the high waters 
of 1849-'50, when his cattle were partly surrounded 
by water near the Sacramento river, killed and sold 
enough to amount to sixty thousand dollars. 

"Having seen his power decline and his riches 
take wings, General Sutter removed to the west bank 
of Feather river, and took up his residence at Hock 
farm. Here, in the midst of his family, who had 
recently arrived from Europe, he led the quiet life of 
a farmer in the county that bears his name." 

The following verbatim copy of notes in General 
Sutters own handwriting, we insert, notwithstanding 
there are some repetitions of facts given in the former 
part of this chapter: — 

[The following rough notes of narrative, in the 
handwriting of the venerable General Sutter, the 
discoverer of gold in California, were found amongst 
the papers of an eminent citizen of this State, re- 
cently deceased, through the kindly courtesy of whose 
widow ive are enabled to give tbem to the public. As 
a relation of incidents in the life of a man held in 
respect by every Californian, these hasty and imper- 
fect memoranda will, it is believed, have a double in- 
terest and a lasting value. We have thought it best 
to preserve as nearly as was practicable, the quaint 
phraseology, ciToneous orthography, and imperfect 
punctuation of the manuscript; giving, in our judg- 
ment, an added charm to the narrative. — San Fran- 
cisco Argonaut.~\ 

"Left the State of Missouri (where 1 has resided 
for a many years) on the 1th a April, 1838, and 
travelled with the party of Men under CaptTripps, of 
the Amer. fur Compy, to their Rendezvous in the 
Rocky Mountains ( Wind River Valley) from there I 
travelled with 6 brave Men to Oregon, as I consid- 
ered myself not strong enough to cross the Sierra 
Nevada and go direct to California (which was my 
intention from my first Start on having got some 



informations from a Gent'n in New Mexico, who has 
boon in California. 

"Under a good Many Dangers and other troubles I 
have passed the Different forts or trading posts of 
the Hudsons Bay Compy. and arrived at the Mission 
at the Dalls on Columbia River. From this placo I 
crossed right strait through thick & thin, and 
arrived to tho great astonishment of the inhabitants. 
I arrived in 7 days in the Valley of tho Willamette, 
while others with good guides arrived only in 17 days 
previous my Crossing. At fort Vancouver I has been 
very hospitably received and invited to pass tho 
AVintor with tho Gentlemen of the Company, but as 
a Vessel of the Compy was ready to sail for the 
Sandwich Islands, I took a passage in her, in hopes to 
get Soon a Passage from there to California, but 5 
long Months I had to wait to find an Opportunity to 
leave, but not direct to California, except far out of 
my Way to the Russian American Colonies on the 
North West Cost, to Sitka the Residence of the 
Gov'r. (Lat. 57) I remained one Month there and 
delivered the Cargo of the Brig Clementine, as I had 
Charge of the Vessel, and then sailed down the Coast 
in heavy Gales, and entered in Distress in the Port of 
San Francisco, on the 2d of July, 1839. An Officer 
and 15 Soldiers came on board and ordered me out, 
saying that Monterey is the Port ofentiy, & at last 
1 could obtain 48 hours to get provisions (as we 
were starving) and some repairings done on the Brig. 

"In Monterey I arranged my affairs with the Cos- 
turn House, and presented myself to the Govr Alva- 
rado, and told him my intention to Settle here in this 
Country, and that I have brought with me 5 White 
Men 8 Kanacas (two of them married) 3 of the 
Whitemen were Mechanics, he was very glad to hear 
that, and particularly when I told him, that I intend 
to Settle in the interior, on banks of the the river 
Sacramento, because the Indians then at this time 
would not allow white M«n and particularly of the 
Spanish Origin to come near them, and was very 
hostile, and stole the horses from the inhabitants 
near San Jose. I got a General passport for my small 
Colony and permission to select a Territoiy where 
ever I would find it convenient, and to come in one 
Years time again in Monterey to get my Citizenship 
and the title of the Land, which I have done so, and 
not only this, 1 l'eceived a high civil Office. 

"Whenlleft Yerbabuena (now San Francisco) after 
having leaved the Brig and dispatched her back to 
theS. 1. 1 bought several small Boats (Launches) and 
Chartered the Schooner "Isabella" for my Exploring 
Journey to the inland Rivers and particularly to find 
the Mouth of the River Sacramento, as I could find 
Nobody who could give me information, only that 
they Knew some very large Rivers are in the interior. 

" It took me eight days before I could find the 
entrance of the Sacramento, as it is very deceiving 
and very easy to pass by, how it happened to several 
Officers of the Navy afterwards which refused to 
take a pilot. About 10 miles below Sacramento 
City I fell in with the first Indians which was all 
armed & painted & looked very hostile, they was 
about 200 Men, as some of them understood a little 
Spanish I could make a Kind of treaty with them, 
and the two which understood Spanish came with 
me, and made me a little better acquainted with the 
Country, all other Indians on the up River hided 
themselves in the Bushes, and on the Mouth of 
Feather River they runned all away so soon they 
discovered us. I was examining the Country a little 
further up with a Boat, while the larger Crafts let 
go their Ankers, on my return, all the white Men 

came to mo and asked mo, how much longer I in- 
tended to travel! with them in such a Wilderness. 

" Tho following Morning 1 gave Orders to return, 
and entered in the American River, landed at the 
fanner Tannery on the 12th, Augt. 1839. Gave 
Orders to get every thing on Shore, pitch the tents 
and mount the 3 Cannons, called tho white Men, and 
told them that all those which are not contented could 
leave on board the Isabella, next Morning, and that I 
would settle with them imediately, and remain 
alone with the Canaca's, of 6 Men 3 remained, and 3 
of them I gave passage to Ycrbabuena. 

" Tho Indians was first troublesome, and came fre- 
quently and would it not have been for tho Cannons 
they would have Killed us for the sake of my prop- 
erty, which they liked very much, and this intention 
they had very often, how they confessed to me after- 
wards, when on good terms. I had a largo Bull Dog 
which saved my life 3 times, when they came slyly 
near the house in the Night, ho got hold of them 
and marked most severely, in a short time removed 
my Camps on the very spot where now the Ruins 
of Sutters fort stands, made acquaintance with a 
few Indians which came to work for a short time 
making Adobes, and the Canacas was building 3 
grass houses, like it is customary on the Sandwich 
Islands. Before I came up here, 1 purchassed Cattle 
& Horses on tho Rancho of Senor Martinez, and had 
great difficulties & trouble to get them up, and re- 
ceived them at least on the 22d October 1839. Not 
less than 8 Men, wanted to bo in the party, as they 
was afraid of the Indians, and had good reasons to 
be so. 

" Before I got the Cattle we was hunting Deer & 
Elk etc and so afterwards to safe the Cattle as I had 
then only about 500 head, 50 horses & a manada of 
25 mares. One Year that is in the fall 1840, I bought 
1000 head of Cattle of Don Antonio Sunol and many 
horses more of Don Joaquin Gomez and others. In 
the fall 1839 I have built an Adobe house covered 
with Tuleand two other small buildings which in the 
middle of the fort, they was afterwards destroyed 
by fire. At the same time we cut a Road through 
the Woods where the City of Sacramento stand, then 
we made the NeWjEmbarcadero, where the old Zink- 
house stands now. After this it was time to make a 
Garden, and to sow some Wheat &c we broke up the 
soil with poor Californiaploughs, I had a few Califor- 
nians employed as Baqueros, and 2 of them making 
Cal. Carts & stocking the plougs etc. 

"In the Sj>ring 1840, the Indians began to be 
troublesome all aroundme, Killing and Wounding 
Cattle stealing horses, and threatening to attack us 
en Mass, I was obliged to make Capaigns against 
them and punish them severely, a little later about 2 
a 300 was aproching and got United on Cosumne 
River, but I was not waiting for them, left a small 
Garrison at home, Canons & other Arms loaded, and 
left with 6 brave men & 2 Baquero's in the night and 
took them by surprise at Day light, the fighting was 
a little hard, but after having lost about 30 men, 
they was willing to make a treaty with mo, and 
after this lecon they behalved very well, and became 
my best friends and Soldiers, with which I has been 
assisted to conquer the whole Sacramento and a part 
of the San Joaquin Valley. 

"At the time the Communication with tho Bay was 
very long and dangerous, particularly in open Boats, 
it is a great Wonder that we got not swamped a 
many times, all time with an Indian Crew and a 
Canaca at the helm. Once it took mo (in December 
1839.) 16 days to go down to Yerba buena and to 



return, I went down again on the 22d Xber 39. to 
Yerba buena and on account of the inclemency of 
the Weather and the strong current in the River I 
need a whole month (17 days coming up) and nearly 
all the provisions spoiled. 

"On the 23d Augt, 1841. Capt. Ringold of Coma- 
dore Wilkse Exploring Squadron, arrived on the 
Embarcadero, piloted by one of the Launches 
Indian crew, without this they would not have 
found so easy the entrance of the Sacramento. They 
had 6 Whaleboats & 1 Launch 7 Officers and about 
50 men in all, I was very glad indeed to see them, 
sent immediately saddled horses for the Officers, and 
my Clerk with an invitation to come and sec me, at 
their arrival I fired a salut, and furnished tbem 
what they needed, they was right surprised to find 
me up here in this Wilderness, it made a very good 
impression upon the Indians to see so many whites 
are coming to see me, they surveyed the River so far 
as the Bates. 

"September 4th 1841. Arrived the Russian Govr 
Mr. Alexander Rottiheff on board the Schooner Sac- 
ramento, and offered me their whole Establishment 
at Bodega & Ross for sale, and invited me to come 
right off with him, as there is a Russian Vessel at 
Bodega, and some Officers withplein power, to trans- 
act this business with me, and particularly they 
would give me the preference, as they became all 
acquainted with me, during a months stay at Sitka. 
I left and went with him down to the Bay in Com- 
pany with Capt. Ringold's Expedition, what for a 
fleet we thought then, is on the River. Arriving at 
Bodega, we came very soon to terms, from there we 
went to fort Ross where they showed me everything 
and returned to Bodega again, and before the Vessel 
sailed we dined on board the Helena, and closed the 
bargain for $30,000, which has been paid. And other 
property, was a separate account which has been 
first paid. 

"On the 28th of September I dispatched a number of 
men and my Clerk by Land to Bodega, to receive 
the Cattle, Horses, Mules & Sheep, to bring them up 
to Sutter's fort, called then New Helvetia, by crossing 
the Sacramento they lost me from about 2000 head 
about 100, which drowned in the River, but of most 
of them we could safe the hides, our Cal. Banknotes 
at the time. 

"March 6, 1842. Captain Fremont arrived at the 
port with Kit Carson, told me that he was an 
officer of the U. S. and left a party behind in Dis- 
tress and on foot, the few surviving Mules was 
packed only with the most necessary, I received him 
politely and his Company likewise as an old acquaint- 
ance, the next Morning I furnished them with 
fresh horses, & a Vaquero with a pack Mule loaded 
with Necessary Supplies for his Men. Capt. Fre- 
mont found in my Establishment every thing what 
he needed, that he could travell without Delay, he 
could have not found it so by a Spaniard, perhaps 
by a great Many and with loosing a great deal of 
time. I sold him about 60 Mules & about 25 horses, 
and fat young Steers or Beef Cattle, all the Mules & 
horses got Shoed, on the 23d March, all was ready 
and on the 24th he left with his party for the U. 

"As an officer of the Govt, it was my duty to 
report to the Govt, that Capt. Fremont arrived, 
Genl. Micheltorena dispatched Lieut. Col. Telles 
(afterwards Gov. of Sinalo) with Capt., Lieut., and 
25 Dragoons, to inquire what Captain Fremonts 
business was here; but he was en route as the arrive 
only on the 27th, from this time on Exploring, 

Hunting & Trapping parties has been started, at 
the same time Agricultural & Mechanical business 
was progressing from Year to year, and more No- 
tice has been taken, of my # establishment, it became 
even a fame, and some early Distinguished Travellers 
like Doctor Sandells, Wasncsensky & others, Cap- 
tains of Trading Vessels & Super Cargos, & even 
Californians (after the Indians was subdued) came 
and paid me a visit, and was astonished to see 
what for Work of all kinds has been done. Small 
Emigrant parties arrived, and brought me some very 
valuable Men, with one of those was Major Bidwell 
(he was about 4 Years in my employ). Major Reading 
& Major Hensley with 11 other brave men arrived 
alone, both of these Gentlemen has been 2 Years in 
my employ, with these parties excellent Mechanics 
arrived which was all employed by me, likewise 
good farmers, we made i mediately Amer. ploughs 
was made in my Shops and all kind of work done, 
every year the Russians was bound to furnish me 
with good iron & Steel & files, Articles which could 
not be got here likewise Indian Beeds and the most 
important of all was 100 lb of fine Rifle & 100 lb of 
Canon powder and several 100 lb of Lead (every 
year) with these I was careful like with Gold. 

"June 3d 1846. I left in company of Major Read- 
ing, and most all of the Men in my employ, for a 
Campaign with the Mukelemney Indians, which has 
been engaged by Castro and his Officers to revolu- 
tionize all the Indians against me, to Kill all the 
foreigners, burn their houses, and Wheat fields etc. 
These Mukelemney Indians had great promessess 
and some of them were finely dressed and equiped, 
and those came apparently on a friendly visit to the 
fort and Vicinity and long Conversations with the 
influential Men of the Indians, and one Night a 
Number of them entered in my Potrero (a kind of 
closed pasture) and was Ketching horses to drive 
the whole Cavallada away with them, the Sentinel 
at the fort heard the distant Noise of these Horses, 
and gave due notice, & imediately I left with about 
6 well armed Men and attacked them, but they 
could make their escape in the Woods (where Sac. 
City stands now) and so I left a guard with the 
horses. As we had to cross the Mukelemney River 
on rafts, one of these rafts capsized with 10 Rifles, 
and 6 prs of Pistols, a good supply of Amunition, 
and the clothing of about 24 Men, and Major 
Reading & another Man nearly drowned. 

"June 16th 1846. Merritt & Kit Carson arrived 
with News of Sonoma beeing occupied by the Amer- 
icans, and the same evening arrived as prissoners 
Genl. Vallejo, Don Salvador Vallejo, Lt. Col. Prudon 
& M. Leese, and given under my charge and Care, I 
have treated them with kindness and so good as I 
could, which was reported to Fremont, and he then 
told me, that prissoners ought not to be treated so, 
then 1 told him, if it is not right how I treat them, 
to give them in charge of somebody else. 

"Capt. Montgomery did send an Amer. flag by 
Lieut. Revere than in Command of Sonoma, and 
some dispatches to Fremont, I received the Order to 
hiss the flag by Sunrise from Lt. Revere, long time 
before daybreak, I got ready with loading the 
Canons and when it was day the roaring of the 
Canons got the people all stirring. Some them made 
long faces, as they thought if the Bear flag would 
remain there would be a better chance to rob and 
plunder. Capt. Fremont received Orders to proceed 
to Monterey with his forces, Capt. Montgomery 
provided for the upper Country, established Garri- 
sons in all important places, Yerba buena, Sonoma, 


San Jose, and fort Sacramento. Lieut. Missroon 
camo to organize our Garrison better and more 
Numbers of white Men and Indians of* my former 
Soldiers, and gave me the Command of this Fort. 
The Indians have not yeUreceivcd their pay yet for 
their services, only each one a shirt and a pre. of 
pants, & abt. 12 men got Coats. So went the War on 
in California. Capt. Fremont was nearly all time 
engaged in the lower Country and made himself 
Governor, until Genl. Kearney arrived, when an 
other Revolution took place. And Fremont for 
disobeying Orders was made prissoner by Genl. 
Kearney, who took him afterwards with him to the 
U. States by Land across the Mountains. After the 
War I was anxious that Business should go on like 
before, and on the 28th May, 1847, Marshall & 
Gingery, two Millwrights, I employed to survc} r the 
large Millraise for the Flour Mill at Brighton. 

"May 13th, 1847. Mr. Marshall commenced the 
great work of the large Millraise, with ploughs and 

" July 20th, 1847. Got all the necessary timber 
and frame of the millbuilding. 

" Augt. 25th. Capt Hart of the Mormon Battaillon 
arrived, with a good many of his Men on their 
Way to great Salt Lake, they had Orders for Govt. 
Horses, which I delivered to them, (War Horses) 
not paid for yet. They bought provisions and 
got Blacksmith work done. I employed about 
Eighty Men of them, some as Mechanics, some as 
laborers, on the Mill and Millraise at Brighton, some 
as laborers at the Sawmill at Columa. 

"Augt. 28th, 1847. Marshall moved, with P. 
Wisners family and the working hands to Columa, 
and began to work briskly on the sawmill. 

" Septr. 10th. Mr. Sam'l Brannan returned from 
the great Salt Lake, and announced a large Emigra- 
tion by land. On the 19th the Garrison was 
removed, Lieut't Per Lee took her down to San 
fran cisco. 

" Novr. 1th. Getting with a great deal of trouble 
and with breaking wagons the four Runs of Mill- 
stones, to the Mill Sit (Brighton) from the Mountains. 

"Decembr. 22. Received about 2000 fruit trees 
with great expenses from Fort Ross, Napa Valley 
and other places, which was given in Care of men 
who called themselves Gardeners, and nearly all of 
the trees was neglected by them and died. 

"January 28th, 1848. Marshall arrived in the eve- 
ning, it was raining very heavy, but he told me that 
he came on important business, after we was alone 
in a private Room he showed me the first Specimens 
of Gold, that is he was not certain if it was Gold or 
not, but he thought it might be; immediately I made 
the proof and found that it was Gold, I told him 
even that most of all is 23 Carat Gold; he wished 
that I should come up with him immediately, but I 
told him that I have to give first my orders to the 
people in all my factories and shops. 

"February 1th. Left for the Sawmill attended by 
a Baquero (Olimpio) Avas absent 2d, 3d, 4th, & 5th, 
I examined myself everything and picked up a few 
Specimens of Gold myself in the tail race of the 
Sawmill, this Gold and others which Marshall and 
some of the other laborers gave to me (it* was found 
while in my employ and Wages) I told them that 1 
would a ring got made of it so soon as the Goldsmith 
would be here. I had a talk with my employed 
people all at the Sawmill, 1 told them that as they 
do know now that this Metal is Gold, I wished that 
they would do me the great favor and keep it secret 
only 6 weeks, because my large Flour Mill at Brighton 

would have been in Operation in such a time, which 
undertaking would have been a fortune to mo, and 
unfortunately the people would not keep it secret, 
and so I lost on this Mill at, the lowest calculation 
about $25,000. 

" March 7th. The firs' party of Mormons, em- 
ployed by me left for washing and digging Gold and 
very soon all followed, and left me only the sick and 
the lame behind. And at this time 1 could say that 
eveiy body left me from the Clerk to the Cook. What 
for great Damages I had to suffer in my tannery which 
was just doing a profitable and extensive business. 
and the Vatts was left filled and a quantity of half 
finished leather was spoiled likewisoa large quantity 
of raw hides collected by the farmers and of my own 
killing. The same thing was in every branch of 
business which I carried on at the time. I began to 
harvest my wheat, while others was digging and 
washing Gold, but even the Indians could not be 
keeped longer at Work, they was impatient to run 
to the mines, and other Indians had informed them 
of the Gold and its value; and so I had to leave 
more as | of my harvest in the fields. 

"April 18th, 1848, more curious. people arrived, 
bound for the Mountains. I left for Columa, in 
Company with Major P. B. Reading and Mr. Kcmbel 
(Editor of the Alta-G 'alifornia) we were absent 4 
Days, we was prospecting and found Silver and 
iron or in abundance. 

" April 28th. A great many people more went up 
to the Mountains. This day the Saw mill was in 
Operation and the first Lumber has been sawed in 
the whole upper Country. 

"May 1th. Saml Brannan was building a store at 
Natoma, Mormon Islands, and have done a very 
largo and heavy business. 

" May 15th. Paid of all the Mormons which has 
been employed by me, in building these Mills and 
other Mechanical trades, all of them made their pile, 
and some of them became rich & wealthy, but all of 
them was bound to the great Salt Lake, and spent 
there their fortunes to the honor and Glory of the 
Lord ! 

" May 19th. The great Rush from San Francisco 
arrived at the fort, all my friends and acquaintances 
filled up the houses and the -whole fort, I had only a 
little Indian boy, to make them roasted Ripps, etc. 
as my Cooks left me like every body else, the Mer- 
chants, Doctors, Lawyers, Sea Captains, Merchants, 
etc. all came up and did not know what to do, all 
was in a Confusion, all left their wives and families 
in San Francisco, and those which had none locked 
their Doors, abandoned their houses, offered them 
for sale cheap, a few hundred Dollars House & Lot 
(Lots which are Avorth now $100,000 and more) 
some of these men were just like greazy. Some of 
the Merchants has been the most prudentcst of the 
whole, visited the Mines and returned immediately 
and began to do a very profitable business, and soon 
Vessels came from every where with all Kind of 
Merchandize, the whole old thrash which was laying 
for Years unsold, on the Coasts of South & Central 
Amei'ica, Mexico, Sandwich Islands etc. all found a 
good market here. 

"Mr. Brannan was erecting a very large Warehouse, 
and have done an immense business, connected with 
_ Howard & Green; S. Francisco. 

" May 21th. Saml Kyburg errected or established 
the first Hotel in the fort in the larger building, and 
made a great deal of Money. A great Many traders 
deposited a great deal of goods in my Store (an 
Indian was the Key Keeper and performed very 












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well) afterwards every little Shanty became a Ware- 
house and , Store, the fort was then a veritable 
Bazaar. As white people would not be employed at 
the Time I had a few good Indians attending* to the 
Ferry boat, and every night came up, and delivered 
the received Money for ferryage to me, after deduc- 
tion for a few bottles of brandy, for the whole of 
tbem, perhaps some white people at the time would 
not have acted so honestly. 

" May 25th. The travelling to the Mines was 
increasing from day to day, and no more Notice was 
taken, as the people arrived from South America. 
Mexico, Sandwich Islands, Oregon etc. All the Ships 
Grews, and Soldiers deserted. In the beginning of 
July, Col. Mason our Military Governor, with Cap! 
Sherman (Secretary of State) Capt. Folsom Quar- 
trmstr, and an Escort of which some deserted,- and 
some other Gentlemen, ti'avelled in Company with 
the Governor. 

"As we wanted to celebrate the 4th of July we 
invited the Governor and his suite to remain with 
us, and he accepted. Kyburg gave us a good Diner, 
every thing was pretty Avell arranged. Pinkctt was 
the Orator. It was well done enough for such a new 
Country and in such an excitement and Confusion. 
And from this time on you know how every thing 
was going on here. One thing is certain that the 
people looked on my property as their own, and in 
the Winter of 1849 to 1850. A great Number of 
horses has been stolen from me, Avholc Manadas of 
Marcs driven away and taken to Oregon etc. Nearly 
my whole Stock of Cattle has been Killed, several 
thousands and left me only a very small Quantity. 
The same has been done with my large stock of 
Hogs, whicb was running like ever under nobodies 
care and so it was easy to steal them, I bad not an 
Idea that people could be so mean, and that they 
would do a Wholesale business in Stealing. 

"On the Upper Sacramento, that is, from the Buttes 
downward to the point or mouth of feather River, 
there was most all of my Stock running and during 
the Overflow the Cattle was in a many bands on 
bigh spots like Islands, there was a fine chance to 
approach them in small Boats and shoot them, this 
business has been very successfully done by one 
party of 5 Men (partners) Avhich had besides hired 
people, and Boats Crew's which transported the beef 
to the Market at Sacramento City and furnished 
that City with my own beef, and because these Men 
was nearly alone, on account of the Overflow, and 
Monopolized the Market. 

" In the Soring of 1850, these 5 men divided their 
Spoil of $60,000 clear profits made of Cattle, all o!' 
them left for the Atlantic State; one of them 
returned again in the Winter from 1850 to 51, hired 
a new band of Robers to follow the same business 
and kill of the balance of the few that Avas left. My 
Baqueros found out this Nest of thiefs in ther Camp 
butchering just some head of my Cattle, on their 
return they informed me what they have seen, in 
the neighborhood of the same Camp they saAV some 
more cows shot dead, Avhich the Rascal then butch- 
ered. Immediately I did send to Nicolaus for the 
Sheriff (Jas Hopkins) as then at the time Ave had 
laws in force?!? after all was stolen and destroyed 
the Sheriff arrived at Hock farm I fivrnisbed him a 
Posse of my employed Men. they proceeded over 
on the Sacramento to where the thiefs Avcre en- 
camped, as the Sheriff wanted to arrest them they 
just jumped in their Boats and off they went, the 
Sheriff threatened them to fire at them, but they 
was all, and laughing they Avent at large. 

•'One day my Son Avas riding after Stock a feAv miles 
beloAV Hock farm, he found a Man (his name was 
Owens) butchering one of our finest milch Cows (of 
Durham stock of Chile, which cost $300.) He told 
the Man that he could not take the Meat, that he 
would go home and get people, and so he has done, 
and he got people and a Wagon and returned to the 
Spot, but Owens found it good to clear out. Two 
brothers of this Man, Avas respectable Merchants in 
Lexington, Mo. and afterAvards in Westport well 
acquainted Avith me, he came one day in my house 
and brought me their compliments, I received him 
.well, and afterwards turned out to be a thief. How 
many of this kind came to California Avhich loosed 
their little honor by crossing the Istmus or the plains. 
I had nothing at all to do with speculations, but 
stuck by the plough, but by paying such high Wages, 
and particularly under Kyburg' management, I have 
done this business Avith a heavy loss as the produce 
had no more the Value like before, and from the time 
on Kyburg left I curtailed my business considerable, 
and so far that I do all at present Avith my family 
and a few Indian Servants. I did not speculate, only 
occupied my kind, in the hope that it would be before 
long decided and in my favor by the U. S. Land Com- 
mission; but now already 3 years & two months have 
elapsed, and I am Avaiting iioav very anxiously for 
the Decision, which will revive or bring me to the 
untimely grave. 

" All the other Circumstances you knoAv all your- 
self, perhaps I have repeated many things Avhich 1 
Avrote in the 3 first sheets, because I had them not 
to see Avhat I Avrote, and as it is now several months 
I must have forgotten. Avell it is only a kind of mem- 
orandum, and not a History at all, Only to remember 
you on the different periods when such and such 
things happened. 

<l I need not mention again, that all the Visitors has 
all ways been hospitably received and treated. That 
all the sick and wounded found always Medical As- 
sistance, Gratis, as I had neai'ly all the time a Physi- 
cian in my employ. The Assistance to the Emi- 
grants that is all Avell known. I dont need to write 
anything about this. 

"I think iioav from all this you can form some facts, 
and that you can mention how thousands and thou- 
sands made their fortunes from this Gold Discovery 
produced through my industry and energy, (some 
wise merchants and others in San francisco called 
the building of this Sawmill, another of Sutter's 
folly) and this folly saved not only the Mercantile 
World from bankruptC3 r , but even our General Govt, 
but for me it has turned out a folly, then Avithout 
having discovered the Gold, I would have become the 
richest AA^ealthiest man on the Pacific Shore. 

J. A. Sutter." 

James C. Ward, Avho A r isited Gen. Sutter in 1848, 
says of him : — 

" A Swiss by birth, he held during the reign of 
Charles X. the rank of captain in the French army. 
He purchased the buildings at Ross, just north of 
Bodega, of the Russians, and as he proposed to set- 
tle the wilderness to the north of the Bay of San 
Francisco Avith European immigrants, the Mexican 
Government made him a grant of eleven leagues of 
land on the Sacramento river. After landing he 
camped, surrounded by hostile savages, in the open 
plain Avhcre the fort Avas afterward built, and the 
next morning, after dressing in full uniform, he went, 
accompanied by his Indian servant, botliAvell armed, 
to the Indian village in the woods near by. The 



savages were informed through the interpreter that 
he came to them as a friend, and if they would help 
him a little with their labor, he would make them 

"The Indians were set to work to make adobes, 
of which the fort was built. It is a parallelogram 
in form, with two bastions. In the middle of the 
square is a building two stories high, containing four 
rooms, and a counting-room upstairs. A black- 
smith shop, mill for grinding corn, scrape manufac- 
tory and dwelling are around it, built against the 
walls of the fort. At one time he had a well-drilled 
force of thirty Indians within its walls, with guards 
posted night and day for its defense. No one readied 
it without being fed and lodged. 

" I passed the evening of my arrival, after supper, 
in his company. His manners are polished, and the 
impression he makes on every one is very favorable. 
In figure he is of medium height, rather stout, but 
well made. His head is round, features regular, with 
smiling and agreeable expression; complexion 
healthy and roseate. He wears his hair cut close, 
and his moustache trimmed short, a la militaire. He 
dressed very neatly in frock coat, pantaloons and cap 
of blue, and with his gold-headed malacca in hand, 
you would rather suppose him prepared for a saunter 
on the Boulevards than a consultation with Simplon, 
his Indian alcalde, about hands required for the day's 
work, or ox-teams to be dispatched here and there." 



His Observations in the Sacramento Valley in 1843 — Indications 
of Gold — Life at Sutter's Fort — Indian Gourmands — Won- 
derful Fertility of the Land. 

In 1843 a young Swedish scholar visited Sutter's 
Fort, and made observations which are now highly 
interesting. He had been educated at a Government 
institution, and, on that account, was known as one 
of the " King's Orphans." One of the requirements 
of the school was that the pupil, after receiving a 
gratuitous education, should travel in foreign lands, 
write out his observations and discoveries, and de- 
posit them in the library of the institution. In pur- 
suance of that duty, the young Swede found his way 
to California, made drawings of the Golden Gate, 
the town of Yerba Buena, and the old Presidio, vis- 
ited and described Sutter's Fort, and, on his waj T 
home, died at New Orleans. His papers fell into the 
hands of Col. T. B. Thorpe, who reported them to 
the Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Hays of 
California. While examining the country surround- 
ing Sutter's Fort, in 1843, the " Orphan " wrote : — 

"The Californias are rich in minerals. Gold, sil- 
ver, lead, oxide of iron, manganese, and copper ore 
are met with throughout the country, the precious 
metals being the most abundant." 

Describing Sutter's establishment, the Swedish 
traveler said : — 

" It has more the appearance of a fort than a farm- 
ing establishment. It is protected by a wall ten feet 
high, made of adobes, or sun-dried brick, having a 
turret with embrasures and loop-holes for fire-arms. 
TwentjM'our pieces of cannon, of different sizes, can 

Against the walls 

be brought to defend the walls. 

on the inside are erected the store-houses of the es- 
tablishment; also, a distillery to make spirits from 
the wheat and grapes, together with shops for coop- 
ers, blacksmiths, saddlers, granaries, and huts for the 
laborers. At the gate-way is always stationed a ser- 
vant, armed as a sentinel. I arrived at the estab- 
lishment in the morning, just as the people were be- 
ing assembled for labor by the discordant notes of a 
Mexican drum. I found Captain Sutter busily em- 
ployed in distributing orders for the day. He re- 
ceived me with great hospitality, and made me feel 
on the instant, perfectly at home under his roof. The 
magical sound of the drum had gathered together 
several hundred Indians, who flocked to their morn- 
ing meal preparatory to the labors of the day, reap- 
ing wheat. The morning meal over, they filed off to 
the field in a kind of military order, armed with a 
sickle and hook. 

" Breakfast was by this time announced for the 
family, which was served up in an out-house adjoin- 
ing the kitchen. It consisted of wholesome corn- 
bread, eggs, ham, an excellent piece of venison, and 
coffee. In the rear of the fort is a large pond, the 
borders of which are planted with willows and other 
trees. This pond furnishes water for domestic use, 
and for irrigating the garden. The want of rain is 
the greatest evil that befalls the country. In the 
front of the fort there are inclosures for horses and 
cattle, and places to deposit corn and wheat. The 
manner of threshing was conducted on a most patri- 
archal plan, the grain being strewn upon the floor 
and then trodden out by horses or cattle, which causes 
it to be much broken and mixed with the earth, and 
almost impossible to clean. 

" The raising of wheat, corn, horses, and cattle, 
constitutes the principal business of Captain Sutter ; 
but he has realized considerable income from the sal- 
mon fisheries of the rivers, the fish being unequaled 
in flavor, and found in the greatest abundance. He 
also organized extensive hunting and trapping expe- 
ditions for the skins of the beaver, otter, elk, deer, 
and antelope, but in this he was greatly interfered 
with by the Hudson Bay Companj^, who sent their 
hunters upon his grounds. He complained to the 
proper authorities, but they paid no attention to the 
matter. His enemies, not content with thus injur- 
ing him, informed the suspicious Mexican Govern- 
ment that Captain Sutter was concocting revolu- 
tionary plans, and that he encouraged deserters and 
other disorderly persons to live at his settlement. 
Captain Sutter replied to these charges by stating 
that he had received the grant of his lands on condi- 
tion that he should obtain settlers, the principal por- 
tion of whom he expected from Europe. To make 
amends, he had encouraged all the stragglers in the 
country to flock to his central position, and they be- 
ing chiefly unmarried men, and some rather lalwess 
spirits from the mountains, they soon formed a very 
independent set of men, and were quite competent 
to defend themselves. 

" The Government at Monterey was not satisfied 
with this explanation, and urged on by envious neigh- 
bors, it was prompted to send to Captain Sutter a 
committee of investigation. The Captain was so en- 
raged at the indignity that he treated the committee 
with great contempt, and said he could defend him- 
self against any force that might be employed against 
him. Whereupon the Government at Monterey 
threatened to send a military force, but thought bet- 
ter of the matter when they learned the character 
of the men Sutter had about him, and the Russian 
armament he had mounted on the walls of the fort; 



but they annoyed him with lawsuits, and, after a 
great deal of difficulty, he was acquitted of any 
treasonable designs against the Government. 

" The Hudson Bay Company having destroyed his 
trade in furs, he retaliated upon them by erecting a 
large distillery, with the product of which he se- 
cretly purchased from the hunters of the Company 
the greater part of their furs, and managed to make 
more by the operation than if he had kept up a large 
hunting establishment of his own. 

" Mr. Sinclair, a partner with Captain Sutter in 
farming pursuits, and a Mr. Grimes, have large and 
productive farms on the American Fork. Mr. Sin- 
clair is from Scotland, is a very interesting gentle- 
man in conversation, and possesses great enterprise 
in business. He was a hunter for many years among 
the Rocky Mountains, acting as a clerk to one of the 
Hudson Bay Company's expeditions. He treated me 
to a rural breakfast, and, in accordance with his old 
habits, broiled his meat on a ramrod stuck up be- 
fore the fire. The limpid and beautiful river near 
which his home is situated, is made doubly attractive 
when compared with the sultry plains in the vicinity, 
upon which good water is not "always to be ob- 

The " Orphan " explains the process of Indian sig- 
nal-fires: — 

"A hole is dug in the ground much wider at the 
bottom than at the top; this hole is filled with com- 
bustibles and set on fire; once well ignited the hole 
is nearly closed at the opening. By this means the 
smoke rises to a considerable height in a column, and 
thus information is conveyed to different tribes of the 
aoproach of an enemy or friend, and whether they 
arc coming in large or small bodies." 

The gluttonous habits of the Indians are described: 

" The Indians that constituted the crew of the 
schooner, having been rather stinted of food for a 
day or two, determined on a feast as a recompense 
for their previous fasting. They presented on that 
occasion a spectacle I' had never before witnessed of 
disgusting sensual indulgence, the effect of which on 
their conduct, struck me as being exceedingly 
strange. The meat of the heifer, most rudely cooked, 
was eaten in a voracious manner. After gorging 
themselves they would lie down and sleep for a while, 
and get up and eat again. They repeated this glut- 
tony until they actually lost their senses, and pre- 
sented in their conduct all the phenomena peculiar 
to an over-indulgence in spirituous liquors. They 
cried and laughed by turns, rolled upon the ground, 
dozed, and then sprang up in a state of delirium. 
The following morning they were all wretchedly 
sick, and had the expression peculiar to drunken 
men recovering their reason after a debauch." 

The great fertility of the soil in parts of the Sac- 
ramento valley is referred to as follows : — 

" Vegetables of all kinds can be raised in the great- 
est abundance, frequently two. or three crops a year. 
Wormwood and wild mustard abound as weeds. Oats 
grow wild, and the cultivated grow to an enormous 
height. Wheat crops sown in the Fall, early the fol- 
lowing year have yielded one hundred and fourteen 
bushels to the acre. At the Mission of St. Joseph it 
was ascertained that the yield was one hundred and 
twenty bushels to the acre, and the spontaneous crop 
the following year was sixty bushels to the acre. 
The wheat of Taos has six distinct heads. Clover 
and the grasses are extraordinarily fine and pro- 
ductive. Indian flax grows wild all over the coun- 
try. Horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs thrive well, and 

are possessed in greater or less numbers by all the 
inhabitants, and are tended by herdsmen." 


Aspect of Sacramento Valley — Sinclair's Ranch — A Lady Pion- 
eer — Captain Sutter at Home — The Fort Described — Condi- 
tion and Occupation of the Indians — Farm Products and 
Prices — Dinner with the Pioneer — New Helvetia. 

The following interesting and accurate description 
of Sutter's Fort, before the gold discovery, is from 
Edwin Bryant's work, " What I Saw in California," 
published in 1849. Mr. Bryant, with a party of nine 
porsons, left Independence, Missouri, on the 1st of 
May, 1846, and reached Sutter's Fort about midsum- 
mer, Avhen he took the following observations ; — 

"Sept. 1, 1846. A clear, pleasant morning. We 
took a south course down the valley, and at 4 o'clock 
P.M. reached the residence of John Sinclair, Esq., 
on the Rio de los Americanos, about two miles east 
of Sutter's Fort. The valley of the Sacramento, as far 
as we have traveled down it, is from thirty to forty 
miles in width, from the foot of the low benches of 
the Sierra Nevada to the elevated range of hills on 
the western side. The composition of the soil ap- 
pears to be such as to render it highly productive, 
with proper cultivation, of the small grains. The 
ground is trodden up by immense herds of cattle 
and horses, which grazed here early in the Spring, 
when it was wet and apparently miry. "We passed 
through large evergreen oak groves, some of them 
miles in width. Game is very abundant. We fre- 
quently saw deer feeding quietly one or two hundred 
yards from us, and large flocks of antelopes. 

"Mr. Sinclair, with a number of horses and In- 
dians, was engaged in threshing wheat. His crop 
this year, he informed me, would be about three 
thousand bushels. The soil of his rancho, situated 
in the bottom of the Rio de los Americanos, just 
above its junction with the Sacramento, is highly 
fertile. His wheat-fields ai'C secured against the 
numerous herds of cattle and horses, which consti- 
tute the largest item in the husbandry of this coun- 
try, by ditches about five feet in depth, and four or 
five feet over at the surface. The dwelling-house 
and outhouses of Mr. Sinclair arc all constructed 
after American models, and present a most com- 
fortable and neat appearance. It was a pleasant 
scene, after having traveled many months in the 
wilderness, to survey this abode of apparent thrift 
and enjoyment, resembling so nearly those we had 
left in the far-off country behind us. 

"In searching for the ford over the Rio de los 
Americanos, in order to proceed on to Sutter's Fort, 
L saw a lady of a graceful, though fragile figure, 
dressed in the costume of our own countrywomen. 
She was giving some directions to her female ser- 
vants, and did not discover me until I spoke to her, 
and inquired the position of the ford. Her pale and 
delicate, but handsome and expressive countenance, 
indicated much surprise, produced by my sudden 
and unexpected salutation. But, collecting herself, 
she replied to my inquiry in vernacular English, and 
the sounds of her voice, speaking our own language, 
and her civilized appearance, Avere highly pleasing. 
This lady, 1 presume, was Mrs. Sinclair; but I never 
saw her afterwards. 

"Crossing the Rio do los Americanos, the waters 



of which, at this season, arc quite shallow at the 
ford, we proceeded over a well-beaten road to Sut- 
ter's Fort, arriving there when the sun was about 
an hour and a half high. Riding up to the front 
gate, I saw two Indian sentinels pacing to and fro 
before it, and several Americans, or foreigners (as all 
who are not Californians by birth are here called), 
sitting in the gateway, dressed in buckskin panta- 
loons and blue sailor shirts, with white stars worked 
on the collars. I inquired if Captain Sutter was in 
the fort. A very small man, with a peculiarly sharp 
red face and a most voluble tongue, gave the re 
sponse. He was probably a corporal. He said, in 
substance, that perhaps I was not aware of the 
great changes which had recently taken place in 
California; — that the fort belonged to the United 
States, and that Captain Sutter, although he was in 
the fort, had no control over it. lie was going into 
a minute history of the complicated circumstances 
and events which had produced this result, when I 
reminded him that we were too much fatigued to 
listen to a long discourse, but if Captain Sutter was 
inside the walls, and could conveniently step to the 
gate a moment, I would be glad to see him. A lazy- 
looking Indian with a ruminating countenance, after 
some time spent in parleying, was dispatched with 
my message to Captain Sutter. 

"Captain S. soon 'came to the gate, and saluted us 
with much gentlemanly courtesy and friendly cordi- 
ality. He said that events had transpired in the 
country, which, to his deep regret, had so far de- 
prived him of the control of his own property, that 
he did not feel authorized to invite us inside of the 
walls to remain. The fort, he said, was occupied 
by soldiers under the pay of the United States, and 
commanded by Mr. Kern. I replied to him that, 
although it would be something of a novelty to sleep 
under a roof, after our late nomadic life, it was a 
matter of small consideration. If he would supply 
us with some meat, a little salt, and such vegetables 
as he might have, we neither asked nor desired more 
from his hospitality, which we all knew was liberal, 
to the highest degree of generosity. 

"A servant was immediately dispatched with 
orders to furnish us with a supply of beef, salt, mel- 
ons, onions, and tomatoes, for which no compensa- 
tion would be received. We proceeded immediately 
to a grove of live-oak timber, about two miles west 
of the fort, and encamped within a half a mile of the 
Sacramento river. * * * * 

"He [Captain Sutter], planted himself on the spot 
where his fort now stands, then a savage wilderness, 
and in the midst of numerous and hostile tribes of 
Indians. With the small party of men which he 
originally brought Avith him, he succeeded in defend- 
ing himself against the Indians, until he constructed 
his first defensive building. He told me that, sev- 
eral times being hemmed in by his assailants, he 
had subsisted for many days upon grass alone. 
There is a grass in this valley which the Indians 
eat, that is pleasant to the taste, and nutritious. 
He succeeded by degrees in reducing the Indians to 
obedience, and by means of their labor erected the 
spacious fortification which now belongs to him. 

"The fort is a parallelogram, about five hundred 
feet in length, and one hundred and fifty in breadth. 
The walls are constructed of adobes or sun-dried 
bricks. The main building, or residence, stands near 
the center of the area, or court, inclosed by the 
walls. A row of shops, store-rooms, and barracks, 
:;re inclosed within, and lino the walls on every side. 
Bastions project from the angles, and ordnance, 

mounted in which, sweep the walls. The principal 
gates on the east and the south are also defended 
by heavy artillery, through port-holes pierced in the 
walls. At this time the fort is manned by about 
fifty well-disciplined Indians, and ten or twelve 
white men, all under the pay of the United States. 
These Indians are well clothed and fed. The gar- 
rison is under the command of Mr. Kern, the artist 
of Captain Fremont's exploring expedition. 

"The number of laboring Indians employed by 
Captain Sutter during the seasons of sowing and 
harvest, is from two to .three hundred. Some of 
these are clothed in shirts and blankets, but a large 
portion of them are entirely naked. They are paid 
so much per day for their labor, in such articles of 
merchandise as they may select from the store. 
Cotton cloth and handkerchiefs are what they most 
freely purchase. Common brown cotton cloth sells 
at one dollar per yard. A tin coin issued by Captain 
Sutter circulates among them, upon which is stamped 
the number of days that the holder has labored. 
These stamps indicate the value in merchandise to 
which the laborer or holder is entitled. 

"They are inveterate gamblers, and those who 
have been so fortunate as to obtain clothing, fre- 
quently stake and part with every rag upon their 
backs. The game which they most generally play 
is carried on as follows: Any number which may be 
concerned in it seat themselves cross-legged on the 
ground, in a circle. They are then divided into two 
parties, each of which has two champions or players. 
A ball, or some small article, is placed in the hands 
of the players on one side, which they transfer from 
hand to hand with such sleight and dexterity that 
it is nearly impossible to detect the changes. When 
the players holding the balls make a particular 
motion with their hands, the antagonist players 
guess in which hand the balls are at the time. If 
the guess is wrong, it counts one in favor of the 
playing party. If the guess is right, then it counts 
one in favor of the guessing party, and the balls are 
transferred to them. The count of the game is 
kept with sticks. During the progress of the game, 
all concerned keep up a continual monotonous grunt- 
ing, with a movement of their bodies to keep time 
with their grunts. The articles which arc staked 
on the game are placed iu the center of the ring. 

" The laboring or field Indians about the fort are 
fed upon the offal of slaughtered animals, and upon 
the bran sifted from the ground wheat. This is 
boiled in large iron kettles. It is then placed in 
wooden troughs standing in the court, around which 
the several messes seat themselves, and scoop out 
with their hands this poor fodder. Bad as it is, 
they eat it with an apparent high relish; and no 
doubt it is more palatable and more healthy than 
the acorn mush, or atole, which constitutes the prin- 
cipal food of these Indians in their wild state. 

"The wheat crop of Captain Sutter, the present 
year [1846], is about eight thousand bushels. Tho 
season has not been a favorable one. The average 
yield to the acre, Captain S. estimated at twenty - 
tivc bushels. In favorable seasons this yield is 
doubled; and if we can believe the statements often 
made upon respectable authority, it is sometimes 
quadrupled. ***** The wheat-fields of 
Captain S are secured against the cattle and horses 
by ditches. Agriculture, among the native Califor- 
nians, is in a very primitive state, and although Cap- 
tain S. has introduced some American implements, 
still his ground is but imperfectly cultivated. * * * 

" Wheat is selling at the fort at two dollars and 

^ m&« 





fifty cents per fanega, rather more than two bushels 
English measure. It brings the same price when 
delivered i«,t San Francisco, near the mouth of the 
Bay of San Francisco. It is transported from the 
Sacramento valley to a market in launches of about 
fifty tons burden. Unbolted flour sells at eight dol- 
lars per one hundred pounds. The reason of this 
high price is the scarcity of flouring-mills in the 
country. The mills which are now going up in 
various places will reduce the price of flour, and 
probably they will soon be able to grind all the 
wheat raised in the country. The streams of Cali- 
fornia afford excellent water-power, but the flour 
consumed by Captain Sutter is ground by a very, 
ordinary horse-mill. 

"I saw near the fort a small patch of hemp, which 
had been sown as an experiment, in the spring, and 
had not been irrigated. I never saw a ranker 
growth of hemp in Kentucky. Vegetables of several 
kinds appeared to be abundant, and in perfection. 

"Captain Sutter's dining-room and his table fur- 
niture do not present a very luxurious appearance. 
The room is unfurnished, with the exception of a 
common deal table standing in the center, and some 
benches, which are substitutes for chairs. The 
table, when spread, presented a correspondingly 
primitive simplicity of aspect and of viands. The 
first course consisted of good soup, served to each 
guest, in a china bowl, with .silver spoons. The 
bowls, after they had been used for this purpose, 
were taken away and cleaned by the Indian servant, 
and were afterwards used as tumblers or goblets, 
from which we drank our water. The next course 
consisted of two dishes of meat, one roasted and one 
fried, and both highly seasoned with onions. Bread, 
cheese, butter, and melons, constituted the dessert. 

"Such has been the extortion of the Government 
in the way of import duties, that few supplies which 
are included even among the most ordinary elegan- 
cies of life, have ever reached the inhabitants, and 
for these they have been compelled to pay prices 
that would be astonishing to a citizen of the United 
States or of Europe, and such as have impoverished 
the population. As a general fact, they cannot be 
obtained at any price, and hence those who have 
the ability to purchase are compelled to forego their 
use from necessity. 

"The site of the town of Nueva Helvetia, which 
has been laid out by Captain Sutter, is about a mile 
and a half from the Sacramento. It is on an eleva- 
tion of the plain, and not subject to overflow when 
the waters of the river are at their highest known 
point. There arc now but three or four small houses 
in this town, but I have little doubt that it will soon 
become a place of importance. 

"Near thcEmbarcadero of New Helvetia is a large 
Indian 'sweat-house,' or temescal, an appendage of 
most of the rancherias." 



Scene of the Tragedy — Organization and Composition of the 
Party — Election of George Donner as Captain — Hastings' 
Cut-off — Ascent of the Mountains — Arrival at Donner Lake 
— Snow-storms — Construction of Cabins — ' ' Forlorn Hope 
Party " — Captain Reasin P. Tucker's Relief Party — James 
F. Reed's Relief Party— " Starved Camp "—Third Relief 
Party — Heroism and Devotion of Mrs. George Donner — 
Fourth Relief Party — The Survivors. 

Three miles from Truckee, and resting In the 
green lap of the Sierras, lies one of the loveliest 
sheets of water on the Pacific coast. Tall mountain 
peaks are reflected in its clear waters, revealing a 
picture of extreme loveliness and quiet peace. Yet 
this peaceful scene was the amphitheatre of the most 
tragic event in the annals of earl}' California. " The 
Donner Party " was organized in Sangamon county, 
Illinois, by George and Jacob Donner and James F. 
Reed, in the Spring of 1846. In April, 1846, the 
party set out from Springfield, Illinois, and by the 
first week in May had reached Independence, Mis-, 
souri, where the party was increased until the train 
numbered about two or three hundred wagons, the 
Donner family numbering sixteen; the Reed family, 
seven; the Graves family, twelve; the Murphy family, 
thirteen; these were the principal families of the 
Donner party proper. At Independence, provisions 
were laid in for the trip, and the line of journey taken 
up. In the occasional glimpses we have of the party, 
features of but little interest present themselves, 
beyond the ordinary experience of pioneer life. A 
letter from Mrs. George Donner, written near the 
junction of the North and South Platte, dated June 
16, 1846, reports a favorable journey of four hundred 
and fifty miles from Independence, Missouri, with 
no forebodings of the terrible disasters so soon to 
burst upon them. At Fort Laramie a portion of the 
party celebrated the Fourth of July. Thereafter 
the train passed, unmolested, upon its journey. 
George Donner was elected captain of the train at 
the Little Sandy river, on the 20th of July, 1846, 
from which act it took the name of "The Donner 

At Fort Bridger, then a mere trading post, the 
fatal choice was made of the route that led to such 
fearful disasters and tragic death. A new route, via 
Salt Lake, known as Hastings' Cut-off, was recom- 
mended to the party as shortening the distance by 
three hundred miles. After due deliberation, the 
Donner party, of eighty-seven souls (three having 
died) were induced to separate from the larger por- 
tion of the train (which afterwards arrived in Cali- 
fornia in safety) and commenced their journey by 
way of Hastings' Cut-off. They reached Weber 
river, near the head of the cafion, in safety. From 
this point, in their journey, to Salt Lake, almost 
insurmountable difficulties were encountered, and 
instead of reaching Salt Lake in one week, as antici- 
pated, over thirty days of perilous travel were con- 
sumed in making the trip — -most precious time in 



view of the dangers imminent in the rapidly ap- 
proaching storms of Winter. The story of their 
trials and sufferings, in their journey to the fatal 
camp a1 Donner lake, is terrible; nature and stern 
necessity seemed arrayed against them. On the 
19th of October, near the present site of Wadsworth, 
Nevada, the destitute company were happily repro- 
visioncd by C. T: Stanton; furnished with food and 
mules, together with two Indian vaqueros, by Cap- 
tain Sutter, without compensation. 

At the present site of Reno it was concluded to 
rest. Three or four days' time was lost. This was 
the fatal act. The storm-clouds were already brew- 
ing upon the mountains, only a few miles distant. 
The ascent was ominous. Thick and thicker grew 
the clouds, outstripping in threatening battalions 
the now eager feet of the alarmed emigrants, until, 
at Prosser creek, three miles below Truckce, October 
28, 1846, a month earlier than usual, the storm set 
in, and they found themselves in six inches of newly- 
fallen snow. On the summit it was already from two 
to five feet deep. The party, in much confusion, 
finally reached Donner lake in disordered fragments. 
Frequent and desperate attempts were made to cross 
the mountain tops, but at last, baffled and despairing, 
they returned to camp at the lake. The storm now 
descended in all its pitiless fury upon the ill-fated 
emigrants. Its dreadful import was well understood, 
as laden with omens of suffering and death. With 
slight interruptions, the storm continued for several 
days. The animals were literally buried alive and 
frozen in the drifts. Meat was hastily prepared from 
their frozen carcasses, and cabins rudely built. One, 
the Schallenberger cabin, erected November, 1844, 
was already standing, about a quarter of a mile be- 
low the lake. This the Breen family appropriated. 
The Murphys erected one three hundred yards from 
the lake, marked by a large stone twelve feet high. 
The Graves family built theirs near Donner creek, 
three-quarters of a mile further down the stream, 
the three forming the apexes of a triangle; the 
Breen and Murphy cabins were distant from each 
other about one hundred and fifty yards. The Don- 
ner brothers, with their families, hastily constructed 
a brush shed in Alder Creek valley, six or seven 
miles from the lake. Their provisions were speedily 
consumed, and starvation, with all its grim attend- 
ant horrors, stared the poor emigrants in the face. 
Day by day, with aching hearts and paralyzed ener- 
gies, they awaited, amid the beating storms of the 
Sierras, the dread revelation of the morrow^ ''hoping 
against hope " for some welcome sign. 

On the sixteenth day of December, 1846, a party 
of seventeen were enrolled to attempt |he hazardous 
journey over the mountains, to press into the valley 
beyond for relief. Two returned, and the remaining 
fifteen pressed on, including Mary Graves and her 
sister; Mrs. Sarah Fosdick, and several other women, 
the heroic C. T. Stanton and the noble F. W. Graves 
(who left his wife and seven children at the lakes 

to await in vain his return) being the leaders. This 
was the " Forlorn Hope Party," over whose dreadful 
Bufferings and disaster we must throw a veil. A de- 
tailed account of this party is given from the graphic 
pen of C. F. McGlashan, and lately published in book 
form from the press of Crowley & McGlashan, pro- 
prietors of the Truckee JiepuMican, to which we take 
pleasure in referring the reader. Death in its most 
awful form reduced the wretched company to seven — 
two men and five women — when suddenly tracks 
were discovered imprinted in the snow. " Can any 
one imagine," says Mary Graves in her recital, " the 
joy these foot-prints gave us ? We ran as fast as our 
strength would carry us." Turning a sharp point 
they suddenly came upon an Indian rancheria. The 
acorn-bread offered them by the kind and awe- 
stricken savages was eagerly devoured. But on they 
pressed with their Indian guides, only to repeat their 
dreadful sufferings, until at last, one evening about 
the last of January, Mr. Eddy, with his Indian guide, 
preceding the party fifteen miles, reached Johnson's 
ranch, on Bear river, the first settlement on the 
western slope of the Sierras, when relief was sent 
back as soon as possible and the remaining six sur- 
vivors were brought in next day. It had been thir- 
ty-two days since they left Donner lake. No tongue 
can tell, no pen portray, the awful suffering, the ter- 
rible and appalling straits, as well as the noble deeds 
of heroism that characterized this march of death. 
The eternal mountains, whose granite faces bore wit- 
ness to their sufferings, are fit monuments to mark 
the last resting-place of Charles T. Stanton, that cul- 
tured, heroic soul, who groped his way through the 
blinding snow of the Sierras to immortality. The 
divinest encomium — " He gave his life as a ransom 
for many " — is his epitaph, foreshadowed in his own 
noble words, "I will bring aid to these famishing 
people or lay down my life." 

Nothing could be done, in the meantime, for the 
relief of the sufferers at Donner lake, without 
securing help from Fort Sutter, which was speedily 
accomplished by John Rhodes. In a week, six men, 
fully provisioned, with Captain Reasin P. Tucker at 
their head, reached Johnson's ranch, and in ten or 
twelve days' time, with provisions, mules, etc., the 
first relief party started for the scene at Donner lake. 
It was a fearful undertaking, but on the morning of 
the 19th of February, 1847, the above party began 
the descent of the gorge leading to Donner lake. 

We have purposely thrown a veil over the dread- 
ful sufferings of the stricken band left in their 
wretched hovels at Donner lake. Reduced to the 
verge of starvation, many died (including numerous' 
children, seven of whom were nursing babes) who, 
in this dreadful state of necessity, were summarily 
disposed of. Rawhides, moccasins, strings, etc., 
were eaten. But relief was now close at hand for 
the poor, stricken sufferers. On the evening of the 
19th of February, 1847, the stillness of death that 
had settled upon the scene was broken by pro- 



longed shouts. In an instant the painfully sensitive 
ears of the despairing watchers caught the welcome 
sound. Captain Tucker, with his relief party, had 
at last arrived upon the scene. Every face was 
bathed in tears, and the strongest men of the relief 
party melted at the appalling sight, sat down, and 
wept with the rest. But time was precious, as storms 
were imminent. The return party was quickly gath- 
ered. Twenty-three members started, among them 
several women and children. Of this number two were 
compelled to return, and three perished on the jour- 
ney. Many hardships and privations were expe- 
rienced, and their provisions were soon entirely 
exhausted. Death once more stared them in the 
face, and despair settled upon them. But assistance 
was near at hand. James F. Beed, who had pre- 
ceded the Donner party by some months, suddenly 
appeared with the second relief party, on the 
25th of February, 1S47. The joy of the meeting- 
was indescribable, especially between the family and 
the long-absent father. Be-provisioned, the party 
pressed on, and gained their destination after severe 
suffering, with eighteen members, only three having 
perished. Beed continued his journey to the cabins 
at Donner lake. There the scene was simply inde- 
scribable; starvation and disease were fast claiming 
their victims. March 1st (according to Breen's 
diary) Beed and his party arrived at the camp. 
Proceeding directly to his cabin, he was espied by 
his little daughter (who, with her sister, was carried 
back by the previous party) and immediately recog- 
nized with a cry of joy. Provisions were carefully 
dealt out to the famishing people, and immediate 
steps were taken for the return. Seventeen com- 
prised this party. Half-starved and completely 
exhausted, they were compelled to camp in the 
midst of a furious storm, in which Mr. Beed barely 
escaped with his life. This was " Starved Camp/' 
and from this point Mr. Beed, with his two little 
children and another person, struggled ahead to 
obtain hasty relief, if possible. 

On the second day after leaving " Starved 
Camp," Mr. Beed and the three companions were 
overtaken by Cady and Stone, and on the night of 
the third day, reached Woodworth's camp, at Bear 
valley, in safety. The horrors of " Starved Camp " 
beggar all description, indeed, require none. The 
third relief party, composed of John Stark, Howard 
Oakley, and Charles Stone, were nearing the rescue, 
while W. H. Foster and W. H. Eddy (rescued by a 
former part}') were bent on the same mission. 
These, with Hiram Miller, set out from Woodworth's 
camp on the following morning after Beed's arrival. 
The eleven were duly reached, but were in a starving- 
condition, and nine of the eleven were unable to 
walk. By the noble resolution and herculean 
efforts of John Stark, a part of the number were 
borne and urged onward to their destination, while 
the other portion was compelled to remain and 
await another relief party. When the third relief 

part}", under Foster and Eddy, arrived at Donner 
lake, the sole survivors of Alder creek were George 
Donner, the captain of the company, and his heroic 
and faithful wife, whose devotion to her dying 
husband caused her own death during the last and 
fearful days of waiting for the fourth relief. George 
Donner knew he was dying, and urged his wife to 
save her life and go with her little ones, with the 
third relief, but she refused. Nothing wd!s more 
heart-rending than her sad parting with her beloved 
little ones, who wound their childish arms lovingly 
around her neck and besought her with mingled 
tears and kisses to join them. But duty prevailed 
over affection, and she l'etraced the weary distance 
to die with him whom she had promised to love and 
honor to the end. Such scenes of anguish are seldom 
witnessed on this sorrowing earth, and such acts of 
triumphant devotion are among her most golden 
deeds. The snowy cerements of Donner lake 
enshrouded in its stilly whiteness no purer life, no 
nobler heart than Mrs. George Donner's. The 
terrible recitals that close this awful tragedy we 
willingly omit. 

The third relief party rescued four of the last five 
survivors; the fourth and last relief party rescued 
the last survivor, Lewis Keseberg, on the 7th of 
April, 1847. Ninety names are given as members of 
the Donner party. Of these forty-two perished, six 
did not live to reach the mountains, and forty-eight 
survived. Twenty-six, and possibly twenty-eight, 
out of the forty-eight survivors are living to-day — 
several residing in San Jose, Calistoga, Los Gatos, 
Marysvillc, and in Oregon. 

Thus ends this narrative of horrors, without a 
parallel in the annals of American history, of appall- 
ing disasters, fearful sufferings, heroic fortitude, self- 
denial and heroism. 


Early Reports and Discoveries — Marshall's Great Discovery at 
Sutter's Mill — His Account of the Event — Views of the 
Newspapers of that Time — Political and Social Revolu- 
tion — Great Rush to the Mines — Results — General Sutter's 
Account of the Gold Discovery — Building of Saw-Mill. 

From the first discovery of California by the Span- 
iards the impression prevailed that the country was 
rich in silver, gold, and precious stones. When set- 
ting out on his northern expedition, the object of 
Cortez was to find another country like Hexico, in- 
habited by a semi-civilized people, whose rich ti'eas- 
ures he might appropriate; and afterwards there 
existed among the inhabitants of New Spain a strong 
belief in the great riches of the new province, both 
in gold and precious stones. The first published 
report of gold in California is found in Hakluyt s 
account of Sir Francis Drake's expedition to this coast 
in 1579. The historian of the voyage says: --There 
is no part of the earth here to be taken up wherein 
there is not a reasonable quantity of gold or silver.' 



It is not related that any of Drake's men penetrated 
into the interior of the country or made any search 
for these metals; and, since neither gold nor silver 
is found in the neighborhood of Drake's or San Fran- 
cisco bay, it is to be inferred that this statement 
was a falsehood, uttered for the purpose of giving 
importance to Drake's supposed discovery. 

There is no further account of gold or silver dis- 
coveries for two hundred and twenty-three years, 
until 1802, when it is said that silver was found at 
Alizal, in Monterey county, but the mine never pro- 
duced anything of consequence. Manfras says that 
gold was found in San Diego county in 1828; but as 
the discovery had not been heard of by Alexander 
Forbes, the historian of California, in 1835, it could 
not have been of any importance. On the contrary, 
Forbes, in his book of that date, says: "No min- 
erals of particular importance have yet been found 
in Upper California, nor any ores of metals." . In 
another place, referring to Hijar's migration to Cali- 
fornia in 1833, he says: " There were goldsmiths in 
the party proceeding to a country where no gold 
existed." Mr. Forbes was then the British Yice- 
Consul at Monterey, and was doing all in his power 
to interest the English Government in the country; 
it is therefore certain that up to that time — 1835 — 
no mineral discoveries of any consequence had been 
made in the province. 

The first mine to produce any noticeable amount 
of precious metal was the gold placers in the canon 
of the San Francisquito creek, forty -five miles north- 
west of Los Angeles. It was discovered about the 
year 1838,. and was worked continuously for ten 
years, when it was deserted for the richer discov- 
eries in the Sacramento basin. Its total yield was 
probably not over sixty thousand dollars or about 
six thousand dollars a year. 

In 1842, James D. Dana, the geologist and miner- 
alogist with Wilkes' Exploring Expedition, traveled 
from the northern frontier through the Sacramento 
basin to the Bay of San Francisco, and afterwards 
published a work in which he said: " The gold rocks 
and veins of quartz were observed by the author in 
1842, near the IJmpqua river, in southern Oregon, 
and pebbles from similar rocks were met with along 
the shores of the Sacramento, in California, and the 
resemblance to other gold districts was remarked; 
but there was no opportunity of exploring the 
country at the time." Mr. Dana's professional 
knowledge enabled him to perceive certain indica- 
tions of gold, but no practical discoveries were made. 

On the 4th of May, 1846, Thomas O. Larkin, then 
United States Consul at Monterey, wrote to the Sec- 
retary of State as follows: "There is said to be 
black lead in the country at San Fernando, near 
San Pedro. By washing the sand in a plate, any 
person can obtain from one to five dollars per day of 
gold that brings seventeen dollars per ounce in Boston . 
The gold has been gathered for two or three years, 
though but few persons have the patience to look for 

it. On the south-west end of the Island of Catalina 
there is a silver mine from which silver has been 
extracted. There is no doubt that gold, silver, 
quicksilver, copper, lead, sulphur and coal mines 
are to be found all over California, and it is equally 
doubtful whether, under their present owners, they 
will ever be worked." Till May, 184G, no productive 
mines were in operation, except the one on San 
Francisquito creek, in what is now Los Angeles 

It was reserved for James W. Marshall to make 
the great discovery, on the 19th of January, 1848, 
at Sutter's mill, on the South Fork of the American 
river, near the present town of Coloma, in EI Dorado 

No account of the memorable event can be so 
interesting as that of Mr. Marshall himself, who in 
a letter of January 28, 1856, says: — 

"Towards the end of August, 1847, Captain Sut- 
ter and I formed a copartnership to build and run a 
saw-mill upon a site selected by myself (since known 
as Coloma). We employed P. L. Weimer and fam- 
ily, to remove from the fort (Sutter's Fort) to the 
mill-site to cook and labor for us. Nearly the first 
work done was the building of a double log cabin, 
about half a mile from the mill-site. We commenced 
the mill about Christmas. Some of the mill hands 
wanted a cabin near the mill. This was built, and 
I went to the fort to superintend the construction of 
the mill irons, leaving orders to cut a narrow ditch 
where the race was to be made. Upon my return, 
in January, 1848, I found the ditch cut as directed, 
and those who were working on the same were 
doing so at a great disadvantage, expending their 
labor upon the head of the race instead of the foot. 

"I immediately changed the course of things, and 
upon the 19th of the same month, January, dis- 
covered the gold near the lower end of the race, 
about two hundred yards below the mill. William 
Scott was the second man tosee the metal. He was 
at work at a carpenter's bench near the mill. I 
showed the gold to him. Alexander Stephens, 
James Brown, Henry Biglcr, and William Johnston, 
were likewise working in front of the mill, framfng 
the upper story. They were called up next, and, of 
course, saw the precious metal. P. L. Weimer and 
Charles Bennett were at the old double log cabin 
(where Hastings & Co. afterwards kept a store), 
and, in my opinion, at least half a mile distant. 

"In the meantime we put in some wheat and peas, 
nearly five acres, across the river. In February, the 
Captain (Captain Sutter) came to the mountains for 
the first time. Then we consummated a treaty 
with the Indians, which had been previously nego- 
tiated. The tenor of this was that we were to pay 
them two hundred dollars yearly in goods, at Yerba 
Buena prices, for the joint possession and occupation 
of the land with them; they agreeing not to kill our 
stock, viz.: horses, cattle, hogs or sheep, nor burn 
the grass within the limits fixed by the treaty. At 
the same time, Captain Sutter, myself, and Isaac 
Humphrey, entered into a copartnership to dig gold. 
A short time afterwards, P. L. Weimer moved away 
from the mill, and was away two or three months, 
when he returned. With all the events that sub- 
sequently occurred, you and the public are well in- 

i 8" 

rOMPSON 4 W£«ST ^</Q GAt\i*NOX*t-. 



The following additional particulars of the dis- 
coveiy appeared in the Coloma Argus in the latter 
part of the year 1855, and were cvidentlj'' derived 
from Weimer himself : — 

"That James W. Marshall picked up the first 
piece of gold, is beyond doubt. Peter L. Wimmer 
(Weimer), who resides in this place, states positively 
that Mr. Marshall picked up the gold in his presence; 
they both saw it, and each spoke at the same time, 
'What's that yellow stuff?' Marshall being a step 
in advance picked it up. This first piece of gold 
is now in the possession of Mrs. Wimmer, and weighs 
six penny-weights, eleven grains. The piece was 
given to her by Marshall himself. * * * The 
dam was finished early in January, the frame for 
the mill also erected, and the flume and bulk-head 
completed. It was at this time that Marshall and 
Wimmer adopted the plan of raising the gate during 
the night to wash out sand from the mill-race, clos- 
ing it during the day, when work would be con- 
tinued with shovels, etc. Early in February — the 
exact day is not remembered — in the morning, after 
shutting off the water, Marshall and Wimmer walked 
down the race together to see what the water had 
accomplished during the night. Having gone about 
twenty yards below the mill, they both saw the 
piece of gold mentioned, and Marshall picked it up. 
After an examination, the gold was taken to the 
cabin of Wimmer, and Mrs. Wimmer instructed to 
boil it in saleratus water; but, she being engaged in 
making soap, pitched the piece in the soap-kettle, 
where it was boiled all day and all night. The fol- 
lowing morning the strange piece of stuff was fished 
out of the soap, all the brighter for the boiling it 
had received. Discussion now commenced, and all 
expressed the opinion that perhaps the yellow sub- 
stance might be gold. Little was said on the sub- 
ject; but every one each morning searched in the 
race for more, and every day found several small 
scales. The Indians 'also picked up many small 
thin pieces, and carried them always to Mrs. Wimmer. 

''• About three weeks after the first piece was ob- 
tained, Marshall took the fine gold, amounting to 
between two and three ounces, and went below to 
have the strange metal tested. On his return, he 
informed Wimmer that the stuff was gold. All 
hands now began to search for the 'root of all evil.' 
Shortly after Captain Sutter came to Coloma, when 
he and Marshall assembled the Indians, and bought 
of them a large tract of country about Coloma, in 
exchange for a lot of beads and a few cotton hand- 
kerchiefs. They, under color of this Indian title, 
required one-third of all the gold dug on their 
domain, and collected at this rate until the Fall of 
1848, when a mining party from Oregon declined 
paying 'tithes,' as they called it. 

"During February, 1818, Marshall and Wimmer 
went down the river to Mormon Island, and there 
found scales of gold on the rocks. Some weeks later 
they sent a Mr. Henderson, Sydney Willis, and Mr. 
Fifield, Mormons, down there to dig, telling them 
that that place was better than Coloma. These 
were the first miners at Mormon Island." 

In a little work entitled " Mining in the Pacific 
States," published by H. H. Bancroft & Co., in 1861, 
Mr. John S. Hittell presents the following interest- 
ing facts concerning the great discovery: — 

"Marshall was a man of an active, enthusiastic 
mind, and he at once attached great importance to 

his discovery. His ideas, however, were vague; he 
knew nothing about gold-mining; he did not know 
how to take advantage of what he had found. Only 
an experienced gold-miner could understand the 
importance of the discovery, and make it of practical 
value to all the world. That gold-miner, fortu- 
nately, was near at hand; his name was Isaac Hum- 
phrey. He was residing in the town of San Fran- 
cisco, in the month of February, when a Mr. Bennett, 
one of the party employed at Marshall's mill, went 
down to that place with some of the dust to have it 
tested; for it was still a matter of doubt whether 
this yellow metal really was gold. Bennett told his 
errand to a friend whom he met in San Francisco, 
and this friend introduced him to Humphrey, who 
had been a gold-miner in Georgia, and was therefore 
competent to pass an opinion upon the stuff. Hum- 
phrey looked at the dust, pronounced it gold, at the 
first glance, and expressed a belief that the diggings 
must be rich. He made inquiries about the place 
where the gold Avas found, and subsequent inquiries 
about the trustworthiness of Mr. Bennett, and on 
the 7th of March he was at the mill. He tried 
to induce several of his friends in San Francisco to 
go with him; they all thought his expedition a fool- 
ish one, and he had to go alone. He found that 
there was some talk about the gold, and persons 
would occasionally go about looking for pieces of it; 
but no one was engaged in mining, and the work of 
the mill was going on as usual. On the 8th he 
went out prospecting with a pan, and satisfied him- 
self that the country in that vicinity was rich in 
gold. He then made a rocker and commenced the 
business of washing gold; and thus began the busi- 
ness of mining in California. Others saw how he 
did it, followed his example, found that the work 
was profitable, and abandoned all other occupations. 
The news of their success spread, people flocked to 
the place, learned how to use the rocker, discovered 
new diggings, and, in the course of a few months, 
the country had been overturned by a social and 
industrial revolution. 

"Mr. Humphrey had not been at work more than 
three or four days before a Frenchman, called Bap- 
tiste, who had been a gold-miner in Mexico for many 
years, came to the mill, and he agreed with Hum- 
phrey that California was very rich in gold. He, 
too, went to work, and being an excellent prospector, 
he was of great service in teaching the new-comers 
the principles of prospecting and mining for gold, 
principles not abstruse, yet not likely to suggest 
themselves, at first thought, to men entirely igno- 
rant of the business. Baptiste had been employed 
by Captain Sutter to saw timber with a whip-saw, 
and had been at work for two years at a place, since 
called Weber, about ten miles eastward from Coloma. 
When he saw the diggings at the latter place, he at 
once said there were rich mines where he had been 
sawing, and he expressed surprise that it had never 
occurred to him before, so experienced in gold-min- 
ing as he was; but afterwards he said it had been 
so ordered by Providence, that the gold might not 
be discovered until California should be in the hands 
of the Americans. 

"About the middle of March, P. B. Beading, an 
American, now a prominent and wealthy citizen of 
the State, then the owner of a large ranch on the 
western bank of the Sacramento river, near where 
it issues from the mountains, came to Coloma, and 
after looking about at the diggings, said that if simi- 
larity in the appearance of the country could be 
taken as a guide, there must be gold in the hills 



near his ranch; and he went off, declaring his in- 
tention to go hack and make an examination of 
ihein. John Bidwell, another American, now a 
wealthy and influential citizen, then residing on his 
ranch on the hank of Feather river, came to Coloma 
about a week later, and he said there must be gpld 
near his ranch, and he went off with expressions 
similar to those used by Reading. In a lew week's 
news came that Reading had found diggings near 
Clear creek, at the head of the Sacramento valley, 
and was at work there with his Indians; and not 
long after, it was reported that Bidwell was at work 
with his Indians on a rich bar of Feather river, 
since called Bidwell's Bar." 

Although there were two newspapers, the Cali- 
fornian and Star, published in San Francisco, they 
do not seem to have been either very credulous or 
very enterprising. They did not hear of the dis- 
covery till some weeks after the great event; or, if 
they did hear of it, they did not credit the report. 
The first published notice of the gold discovery ap- 
peared in the Calif ornian on the fifteenth of March, 
nearly two months after the event, and was as fol- 
lows: — 

"Gold Mine Found. — In the newly-made race- 
way of the saw-mill recently erected by Captain 
Sutter, on the American fork, gold has been found 
in considerable quantities. One person brought 
thirty dollars' worth to New Helvetia, gathered 
there in a short time. California, no doubt, is rich 
in mineral wealth; great chances here for scientific 
capitalists. Gold has been found in almost every 
part of the country." 

Three days afterwards the Star made the follow- 
ing brief allusion to the subject: — 

"We were informed a few days since that a very 
valuable silver mine was situated in the vicinity of 
this place, and again, that its locality was known. 
Mines of quicksilver are being found all over the 
country. Gold has been discovered in the northern 
Sacramento district, about forty miles above Sutter's 
Fort. Rich mines of copper are said to exist north 
of these bays." 

The Star of March 25th says: "So great is the 
quantity of gold taken from the new mines recently 
found at New Helvetia, that it has become an article 
of traffic in that vicinity." 

It was three months after Marshall's discovery, 
before the San Francisco papers announced that 
gold-mining had become a regular and profitable 
business. The Calif ornian of April 26th sa3 T s: — 

"Gold Mines op the Sacramento. — From a gen- 
tleman just from the gold region, we learn that many 
new discoveries have very recently been made, and 
it is fully ascertained that a large extent of country 
abounds with that precious mineral. Seven men, with 
picks and spades, gathered nine thousand six hun- 
dred dollars within fifteen days. Many persons are 
settling on the lands with the view of holding pre- 
emptions, but as yet every person takes the right to 
gather all he can, without any regard to claims. 
The largest piece yet found is worth six dollars." 

The Star of April 1, 1848, contained an elaborate 
article on the resources of California, giving due 
credence and importance to the great event which 

was so soon to vitalize the sluggish province, in 
which the writer said:— - 

"It would be utterly impossible at present to make 
a eon-eel estimate of the mineral wealth of Cali- 
fornia. Popular attention has been but lately 
directed to it. But the discoveries that have already 
been made will warrant us in the assertion that 
California is one of the richest mineral countries in 
the world. Gold, silver, quicksilver, iron, copper, 
lead, sulphur, saltpetre, and other mines of great 
value have already been found. We saw, a few days 
ago, a beautiful specimen of gold from the mine 
newly discovered on the American fork. From all 
accounts the mine is immensely rich, and already 
we learn the gold from it, collected at random and 
without any trouble, has become an article of 
trade at the upper settlements. This precious metal 
abounds in this country. We have heard of several 
other newly-discovered mines of gold, but as these 
reports are not yet authenticated we shall pass over 
them. However, it is well known that there is a 
placer of gold a few miles from the ciudad de Los 
Angeles, and another on the San Joaquin." 

The California?}, of August 14, 1848, contained an 
article descriptive of the process and implements of 
gold-mining at that time, and having related the 
particulars of the discovery at Sutter's mill, the 
writer continues: — 

"It soon began to attract attention, and some 
persons discovered gold in the river below, and for 
some distance above the mill, in large quantities; 
so much so that persons who only gave credit to 
one-third of what was said about it left their homes 
and went to work in the mines. It was the work 
of but a few weeks to bring almost the entire popu- 
lation of the Territory together, to pick up the 
precious metal. The. result has been that in less 
than four months, a total revolution has been effected 
in the prospects and fate of Alta California. Then, 
the capital was in the hands of a few individuals 
engaged in trade and speculation; now, labor has 
got the upper hand of capital, and the laboring men 
hold the great mass of the wealth of the country — 
the gold. 

"There are now about four thousand white per- 
sons, besides a number of Indians, engaged in the 
mines; and from the fact that no capital is required, 
they are working in companies, on equal shares, or 
alone, with their baskets. In one part of the mine, 
called the dry-diggings, no other implement is nec- 
essary than an ordinary sheath-knife, to pick the 
gold from the rocks. In other parts, where the 
gold is washed out, the machinery is very simple, 
being an ordinary trough made of plank, round on 
the bottom, about ten feet long, and two feet wide 
at the top, with a riddle, or sieve, at one end, to 
catch the larger gravel, and three or four small bars 
across the bottom, about half an inch high, to keep 
the gold from going out with the dirt and water at 
the lower end. This machine is set upon rockers, 
which give a half-rotary motion to the water and 
dirt inside. But far the largest number use nothing 
but a large tin-pan, or an Indian basket, into which 
they place the dirt, and shake it about until the gold 
gets to the bottom, and the dirt is carried over the 
side in the shape of muddy water. It is necessary, 
in some cases, to have a crowbar, pick, or shovel; 
but a great deal is taken up with large horns, shaped 
spoon-fashion at the large end. 



"From the fact that no capital is necessary, a fair 
competition in labor, without the influence of capital, 
men who were only able to procure one month's 
provisions have now thousands of dollars of the 
precious metal. The laboring class have now become 
the capitalists of the country. 

" As to the richness of the mines, were we to set 
down half the truth, it would be looked upon in 
other countries as a Sinbad story, or the history of 
Aladdin's lamp. Many persons have collected in 
one day, of the finest grade of gold, from three to 
eight hundred dollars, and for many days together 
averaged from seventy-five to one hundred and fifty 
dollars. Although this is not universal, yet the 
general average is so well settled, that when a man 
with his pan or basket does not easily gather from thir- 
ty to forty dollars in a day, he moves to another place; 
so that taking the general average, including the 
time spent in moving from place to place and in 
looking for better diggings, we are of the opinion 
that we may safely set down an ounce of pure gold, 
or sixteen dollars per day, to the man. Suppose 
there are four thousand persons at work, they will 
add to the aggregate wealth of the Territoiy about 
four thousand ounces, or sixty-four thousand dollars 
a day. 

" Four months ago, flour was sold in this market 
(San Francisco) for four dollars per hundred; now it 
is sixteen. Beef cattle were then six; now they are 
thirty. Read} T -made clothing, gi»oceries, and other 
goods, have not risen in the same proportion, but are 
at least double their former cost. If we make bread 
and meat the standard by which to determine the 
value of gold, then it is worth only one-fourth of 
what it is elsewhere. But if gold and silver be the 
standard, then the bread and meat is worth four 
times what it was. But, the relative value of the 
grain-gold, compared with gold and silver coin, can 
only be changed by the action of Government; for, 
however abundant the gold may be, it must produce 
its relative value in coin; and, while a five-dollar 
gold-piece will be received at the Treasury as five 
dollars, so long must an ounce of gold be worth 
sixteen dollars. 

" As to the future hopes of California, her course 
is onward, with a rapidity that will astonish the 
world. Her unparalleled gold mines, silver mines, iron 
ore, and lead, with the best climate in the world, 
and the richest soil, will make it the garden-spot of 

The Califomian, of September 23, 1848, gives the 
following graphic account of the grand rush to the 
gold mines: — 

"It would seem that but little doubt was enter- 
tained of its being the Simon-pure stuff; for operations 
immediately ceased at the mill, and all hands com- 
menced searching for gold. It was soon found that 
gold abounded all along the American fork, for a 
distance of thirty miles. But little credit however 
was given the report, though occasionally a solitary 
gold-hunter might be seen stealing down to the 
launch, with a pick and shovel, more that half- 
ashamed of his credulity. Sometime during the 
month of May a number of credible persons arrived 
in 'town from the scene of operations, bringing spec- 
imens of the ore, and stating that those engaged in 
collecting the precious metal were making from three 
to ten dollars per day. Then commenced the grand 
rush. The inhabitants throughout the Territory 
were in a commotion. Large companies of men, 
women, and children could be seen on every road 

leading to the mines; their wagons loaded down 
with tools for digging, provisions, etc. Launch after 
launch left the wharves of our city (San Francisco) 
crowded with passengers and freight, for the Sacra- 
mento. Mechanical operations of every kind ceased. 
Whole streets, that were but a week before alive 
with a busy population, were entirely deserted, and 
the place wore the appearance of a city that had 
been suddenly visited bj a devastating plague. To 
cap the climax, the newspapers were obliged to stop 
printing, for want of readers. 

" Meantime, our mercantile friends were doing an 
unwonted stroke of business. Every arrival from 
the mining district brought more or less gold-dust, 
the major part of which immediately passed into the 
hands of the merchants, for goods. Immense quan- 
tities of merchandise were conveyed to the mines, 
until it became a matter of astonishment where so 
much could be disposed of. Luring the first eight 
weeks of the golden times, the receipts at this place 
(San Francisco) in gold-dust amounted to two 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. For the eight 
weeks ending at this date (Sept. 23, 1848), they 
were six hundred thousand dollars. The number of 
persons now engaged in gold-hunting will probably 
exceed six thousand, including Indians, and one 
ounce per day is the lowest average we can put for 
each person, while many collect their hundreds of 
dollars for a number of days in succession, and 
instances have been known where one individual has 
collected from fifteen hundred to eighteen hundred 
dollars worth of pure gold in one day. Explorations 
have been progressing, and it is now fully ascertained 
that gold exists on both sides of the Sierra Nevada, 
from latitude forty-one degrees north, as far south 
as the head-waters of the San Joaquin river, a dis- 
tance of four hundred miles in length and one 
hundred in breadth. Farther than this has not been 
explored; but from the nature of the country beyond 
the sources of the San Joaquin, we doubt not gold 
will also be found there in equal abundance. The gold 
region already known is sufficiently extensive to 
give profitable employment to one hundred thousand 
persons for generations to come. The ore is in a 
virgin state, disseminated in small doses, and is 
found in three distinct deposits — in sand and gravel 
beds, in decomposed granite, and intermingled with 
a kind of slate." 

In April, 1848, Mr. Jonas Speet, an enterprising 
pioneer, gave the following interesting account of 
gold discoveries: — 

" Up to this time there had been little excite- 
ment about the gold diggings; but at Knight's 
Landing we were overtaken by Spaniards, who were 
on their way to Sutter's mill to dig gold, and they 
reported stories of fabulously rich diggings. After 
discussing the matter, we changed our course to the 
gold mines and hurried on, arriving at the mill on 
the thirtieth day of April. It was true that several 
rich strikes had been made, but the miners then at 
work did not average two and a half dollars per 
day. Marshall and Sutter claimed the land and 
rented the mines. Every one supposed gold was 
confined to that particular locality. We did not 
engage in mining, and concluded to resume our 
journey across the plains. On our return trip we 
learned that gold had been found on Mormon Island. 
But we took no further notice of gold, and on the 
12th of May arrived at Johnson's ranch. We 
found one man there waiting our arrival, but we 
expected many others in a short time. We waited 



until about the 25th, when we learned that 
there was another rush to the mines, and then 
vanished all prospect of any company crossing the 
mountains that Summer. My partner left for the 
American river, and I proposed to Johnson that we 
should prospect for gold on Rear river. We went 
some distance up the stream and spent three days in 
the search without any satisfactory result. I then 
suggested to Johnson that he should send his Indian 
with me, and I would prospect the Yuba river, as 
that stream was about the size of the South Pork of 
the American river. We prepared the outfit, and 
on the 1st of June, we struck the Yuba near Long 
Bar. After a good deal of prospecting, I succeeded 
in raising ' color.' That night I camped in Timbuc- 
too ravine, a little above where we first found the 
gold. The next day, June 2d, I continued pros- 
pecting up the stream, finding a little gold, but 
not enough to pay. The Indian was well acquainted, 
and he piloted me up to the location of Rose's Bar. 
where we met a large number of Indians, all entirely 
nude and eating clover. I prospected on the bar, 
and found some gold, but not sufficient to be remu- 
nerative. Greatly discouraged, I started on my 
return home. When I arrived at a point on the 
Yuba river, a little above Timbuctoo ravine, I washed 
some of the dirt and found three lumps of gold 
worth about seven dollars. I pitched my tent here 
on the night of June 2d, and sent the Indian home 
for supplies. In about a week I moved down on the 
creek, and remained there until November 20th, 
when I left the mines forever. June 3d, the next day 
after the location of my camp, Michael C. Nye and 
William Foster came up the creek prospecting for 

The discovery of gold on the American river led 
Mr. Nye and party to start out on a prospecting 
trip. In the Summer — the exact date is not known — 
they found paying diggings on Dry creek, near its 
junction with the Yuba, and commenced working on 
an extensive scale. The discoveries by Mr. Spect 
and Mr. Nye's company were nearly contempora- 
neous, and as the parties started from different local- 
ities, and without any knowledge of the acts of the 
other, due credit should be given to each. 


The following extracts are from an article com- 
municated, in his own handwriting, by General 
Sutter to Hatchings'' California Magazine for Novem- 
ber, 1857. As a part of the history of the great 
event referred to, and as the personal narrative of 
one of the chief actors in the golden drama, it is one 
of the most interesting records of the time. General 
Sutter says: — 

" It was in the first of January, 1848, when the 
gold was discovered at Coloma, where I was build- 
ing a saw-mill. The contractor and builder of this 
mill was James W. Marshall, from New Jersey. In 
the Fall of 1847, after the mill-site had been located. 
1 sent up to this place Mr. P. L. Wimmer, with his 
family, and a number of laborers from the disbanded 
Mormon Battalion; and a little later I engaged Mr. 
Bennett, from Oregon, to assist Mr. Marshall in the 
mechanical labors of the mill. Mr. "Wimmer had 
the team in charge, assisted by his young sons to do 
the teaming, and Mrs. "Wimmer did the cooking for 
all hands. 

• I was very much 
lumber to finish my 

in need of a saw-mill to get 
flouring-mill, of four run of 

stones, at Brighton, which was commenced at the 
same time, and was rapidly progressing; likewise, 
for other buildings, fences, etc., for the small village 
of Yerba Buena, now San Francisco. In the City 
Hotel (the only one) this enterprise was unkindly 
• ailed 'another folly of Sutter's;' as my first settle- 
ment at the old fort, near Sacramento City, was 
called by a good many 'a folly of his,' and they 
were about right in that, because 1 had the best 
chances to get some of the finest locations near the 
settlements: and even well-stocked ranches had 
been offered me on the most reasonable conditions. 
But I refused all these good offers, and preferred to 
explore the wilderness, and select a territory on the 
banks of the Sacramento. 

"It was a rainy afternoon when Mr. Marshall 
arrived at rny office, in the fort, very wet. I was 
somewhat surprised to see him. as he was down a 
few days previous, when I sent up to Coloma a num- 
ber of teams with provisions, mill irons, etc. He 
told me then that he had some important and inter- 
esting news which he wished to communicate secretly 
to me, and wished me to go with him to a place 
where we should not be disturbed, and where no 
listeners could come and hear what we had to say. 
I went with him to my private rooms; he requested 
me to lock the door; I complied, but told him at the 
same time that nobody was in the house except the 
clerk, who was in his office in a different part of the 

"After requesting of me something which he 
wanted, Avhich my servants brought and then left 
the room, 1 forgot to lock the door, and it happened 
that the door was opened by the clerk just at the 
moment when Marshall took a rag from his pocket, 
showing me the yellow metal. He had about two 
ounces of it; but how quick Mr. Marshall put the 
yellow metal in his pocket again, can hardly be 
described. The clerk came to see me on business, 
and excused himself for interrupting me; and as 
soon as he had left, I was told, ' Now, lock the door. 
Didn't I tell you that we might have listeners?' I 
told him he need fear nothing about that, as it was 
not the habit of this gentleman; but I could hardly 
convince him that he need not be suspicious. 

" Then Mr. Marshall began to show me this metal, 
which consisted of small pieces and specimens, some 
of them worth a few dollars. He told me that he 
had expressed his opinion to the laborers at the mill 
that this might be gold; but some of them laughed 
at him and called him a crazy man, and could not 
believe such a thing. 

"After having proved the metal with aqua fortis, 
which I found in my apothecaiy shop, likewise with 
other experiments, and read the long article 'Gold,' 
in the Encyclopedia Americana, I declared this to be 
gold of the finest quality, of at least twenty-three 
carats. After this Mr. Marshall had no more rest or 
patience, and wanted me to start with him imme- 
diately for Coloma; but 1 told him I could not 
leave, as it was late in the evening, and nearly 
supper-time, and that it would be better for him to 
remain with me till the next morning, and I would 
then travel with him. But this would not do; he 
asked me only, 'Will you come to-morrow?' I 
told him yes, and off he started for Coloma, in the 
heaviest rain, although already very wet, taking 
nothing to eat. I took this news very easy, like 
all other occurrences, good or bad, but thought a 
great deal during the night about the consequences 



which might follow such a discovery. 1 gave all 
the necessary orders to my numerous laborers, and 
left the next morning at seven o'clock, accompanied 
by an Indian soldier and a vaqucro, in a heavy rain, 
for Coloma. About half-way on the road, I saw at 
a distance a human being crawling out from the 
brushwood. 1 asked the Indian who it was. He 
told me, 'the same man who was Avith you last 
evening.' When I came nearer I found it was Mar- 
shall, very wet. I told him he would have done 
better to remain with me at the fort, than to pass 
such an ugly night here; but he told me that he went 
to Coloma, fifty-four miles, took his other horse and 
came half-way to meet me. Then we rode up to the 
new El Dorado. 

"In the afternoon, the weather was clearing up, 
and we made a prospecting promenade. The next 
morning, we went to the tail-race of the mill, 
through which the water was running during the 
night, to clear out the gravel which had been made 
loose for the purpose of widening the race; and 
after the water was out of the race, we went in to 
search for gold. This was done every morning. Small 
pieces of gold could be seen remaining on the surface 
of the clean-washed bed-rock. I went into the race and 
picked up several pieces of this gold; several of the 
laborers gave me some which they had picked up, 
and from Marshall I received a part. I told them I 
would get a ring made of this gold as soon as it 
cbuld be done in California; and I have had a heavy 
ring made, with my family's coat-of-arms engraved 
on the outside, and on the inside of the ring is 
engraved: 'the first gold discovered in January, 
1848.' Now if Mrs. Wimmer possesses a piece which 
had been found earlier than mine, Mr. Marshall can 
tell, as it was probably received from him. I think 
Mr. Marshall could have hardly known himself which 
was exactly the first little piece, among the whole. 

'•The next day 1 went with Mr. Marshall on a 
prospecting tour in the vicinity of Coloma, and the 
following morning 1 left lor Sacramento. Before my 
departure, I had a conversation with all hands; I 
told them I would consider it a great favor if they 
would keep this discovery secret only for six weeks, 
so that I could finish my large flour-mill at Brighton, 
which had cost me already about twenty-four or 
twenty-five thousand dollars. The people up there 
promised to keep it secret so long. On my way 
home, instead of feeling happy and contented, I 
was very unhappy, and could not see that it 
would benefit me much; and I was perfectly right 
in thinking so, as it came just precisely as I 
expected. I thought, at the same time that it 
could hardly be kept secret for six weeks ; and 
in that I was not mistaken, for, about two weeks 
later, after my return, I sent up several teams, in 
charge of a white man, as the teamsters were Indian 
boys. This man was acquainted with all hands up 
there, and Mrs. Wimmer told him the whole secret ; 
likewise the young sons of Mrs. Wimmer told him 
that they had gold, and that they would let him have 
some, too; and so he obtained a few dollars' worth of 
it, as a present. As soon as this man arrived at the 
fort, he went to a small store in one of my outside 
buildings, kept by Mr. Smith, a partner of Samuel 
Brannan, and asked for a bottle of brandy, for which 
he would pay the cash. After having the bottle he 
paid with these small pieces of gold. Smith was 
astonished, and asked if he meant to insult him. The 
teamster told him to go and ask me about it. Smith 
came in, in great haste to see me, and I told him at 
once the truth — what could I do? I had to tell him 

all about it. He reported it to Mr. S. Brannan, who 
came up immediately to get all possible information, 
when he returned and sent up large supplies of goods, 
leased a larger house from me, and commenced a 
very large and profitable business. Soon he opened 
a branch house at Mormon Island. 

" So soon as the secret was out, my laborers began 
to leave me, in small parties at first, but then all left, 
from the clerk to the cook, and I was in great dis- 
tress. Only a few mechanics remained to finish some 
necessary work which they had commenced, and 
about eight invalids, who continued slowly to work 
a few teams, to scrape out the mill-race at Brighton. 
The Mormons did not like to leave my mill unfin- 
ished; but they got the gold-fever, like everybody 
else. After they had made their piles they left for 
the Great Salt Lake. So long as these people have 
been employed by me, they have behaved very well 
and were industrious and faithful laborers; and when 
settling their accounts, there was not one of them 
who was not contented and satisfied. 

"Then the people commenced rushing up from San 
Francisco and other parts of California, in May, 1848. 
In the former village (San Francisco,) only five men 
were left to take care of the women and children. 
The single men locked their doors and left for ' Sut- 
ter's Fort,' and from thence to the El Dorado. For 
some time the people in Monterey and further south, 
would not believe the news of the gold discovery, 
and said it was only a 'ruse de guerre of Sutter's, be- 
cause he wanted to have neighbors in his wilderness.' 
From this time on I got only too many neighbors, 
and some very bad ones among them. 

" What a great misfortune was this sudden gold 
discovery to me ! It has just broken up and ruined 
my hard, industrious, and restless labors, connected 
with many dangers of life, as I had many narrow 
escapes before I became properly established. From 
my mill buildings I reaped no benefit whatever; the 
mill-stones, even, have been stolen from me. My 
tannery, Avhich was then in a flourishing condition, 
and was carried on very profitably, was deserted; a 
largo quantity of leather was left unfinished in the 
vats, and a great quantity of rawhides became val- 
ueless, as they could not be sold. Nobody wanted to 
be bothered with such trash, as it was called. So it 
was in all the other mechanical trades which I had 
carried on ; all was abandoned, and work com- 
menced, or nearly finished, was left, at an immense 
loss to me. Even the Indians had no more patience 
to work alone, in harvesting and threshing my large 
wheat crop; as the whites had all left, and other 
Indians had been engaged by some white men to work 
for them, and they commenced to have some gold, for 
which they were buying all kinds of articles at 
enormous prices in the stores, which, when my Indians 
saw this, they wished very much to go to the mount- 
ains and dig gold. At last I consented, got a num- 
ber of wagons ready, loaded them with provisions 
and goods of all kinds, employed a clerk, and left 
with about one hundred Indians and about fifty 
Sandwich Islanders, which had joined those which I 
brought with me from the Islands. The first camp 
was about ten miles from Mormon Island, on the 
South fork of the American river. In a few weeks 
we became crowded, and it would no more pay, as 
ni} T people made too many acquaintances. I broke 
up the camp and started on the march further south, 
and located my next camp on Sutter creek, now in 
Amador county, and thought that I should there be 
alone. The work was going on well for awhile, un- 
til three or four traveling grog-shops surrounded me, 



at from one-half to ten miles distance from the camp. 
Then, of course, the gold was taken to these places, 
for drinking, gambling, etc., and then the following 
day they were sick and unable to work, and be 
camo deeper and more indebted to me, particularly 
the Kanakas. I found it was high time to quit this 
kind of business, and lose no more time and money. I 
therefore broke up the camp and returned to tin- fori. 
where 1 disbanded nearly all the people who had 
worked for mo in the mountains digging gold. This 
whole expedition proved to be a heavy loss to me. 

"At the same time, I was engaged in a mercantile 
firm at Coloma, which 1 left in January, 1849, like- 
wise with many sacrifices. After this, I would have 
nothing more to do with the gold affairs. At this 
time the fort was the great trading-place, where 
nearly all the business was transacted. I had no 
pleasure to remain there, and moved up to Hock 
farm, with all my Indians, who had been with me 
from the time they were children. The place was 
then in charge of a major-domo. 

"It was very singular that the Indians never found 
a piece of gold and brought it to me, as they very 
often did other specimens found in the mountains. 
I requested them continually to bring me some curi- 
osities from the mountains, for which I always recom- 
pensed them. I have received animals, birds, plants, 
young trees, wild fruits, pipe-clay, red ochre, etc., 
but never a piece of gold. Mr. Dana, of the Wilkes' 
Exploring Expedition, told me that he had the strong- 
est proof and signs of gold in the vicinity of Shasta 
mountain, and further south. A short time after- 
wards Dr. Sandels, a very scientific traveler, visited 
me, exploi'ed a part of the countiy in a great hurry, 
as time would not permit him to make a longer stay. 
He told me likewise that he found some signs of gold, 
and was very sorry that he could not explore the 
Sierra Nevada. He did not encourage me to attempt 
to work and open mines, as it was uncertain how it 
would pay, and would probably be only profitable for 
a Government. So I thought it more prudent to stick 
to the plow, notwithstanding I did know the country 
was rich in gold and other minerals. An old, at- 
tached Mexican servant, who had followed me from 
the United States as soon as he knew that I was 
here, and who understood a great deal about work- 
ing in placers, told me he found sure sifrns of gold in 
the mountains on Bear creek, and that we would go 
right to work after returning from our campaign in 
1845; but he became a victim to his patriotism, and 
fell into the hands of the enemy near my encamp- 
ment, with dispatches for me from General Michelto- 
rena, and he was bung as a spy, for which I was 
very sorry. J. A. Sutter." 


Mountains Unexplored by the Spaniards — The Trappers — Fre- 
mont's Passage of the Mountains in 1 844 — Battles with the 
Snow — The Indian's Warning — A Glimpse of the Valley — 
Subsisting on Horse Fiesta — Arrival at Slitter's Fort — Early 
Settlements — An Immigrant Party of 1844 — Captain Truckee 
— Truckee Eiver — Alone on the Summit — Death of Captain 
Truckee — Immigrants in 1S46 — Discovery of Gold on the 

The native Californians never penetrated into the 
heart of the mountains that skirt the Sacramento 
valley on the east; gazing from a distance upon their 
snow-clad crests, they had named them Sierra 
Nevada, the " snowy mountains," but beyond this 

they remained terra incoynita to them. The bold 
and adventurous trappers of the American Fur Com- 
pany, and the Hudson Bay Company, passed over 
them several times on their way to and from the 
choice trapping grounds in (he valley. The cele- 
brated trapper, Stephen 11. Meek, claims to have 
been the first white man who gazed upon the 
Truckee river, on which stream he set his traps in 
1833. The river did not rceivc its name, however, 
until eleven years later, as will appear further on. 
The Yuba and Bear rivers, having been explored by 
the Spaniards in 1S22, in the valley, had been named 
at that time, the one Rio de las Uva (Grape river) 
and the other Eio de los Osos (Bear river), but as to 
their source and direction in the mountains nothing 
whatever was known. To them were unknown 
lakes Donncr, Tahoe, and the scores of lesser lakes 
that are the pride of the mountains. A few misera- 
able Digger Indians lived in huts, and subsisted on 
acorns, grass, rabbits, etc., and were sovereign lords 
of the beautiful Sierras. 

The valleys of California were, during the early 
part of this century, occupied and traversed by 
bands of trappers in the employ of the many Ameri- 
can and foreign fur companies. The stories of their 
wanderings and experiences are mostly related in the 
form of sensational novels, whose authenticity and 
accuracy must be taken with a great degree of allow- 
ance. Few records concerning these fur-hunters 
remain which are within the reach of the historian, 
and the information given has been gleaned in part 
from personal interviews with those whose knowl- 
edge of the subject was gained by actual experience, 
or by a personal acquaintance with those who 
belonged to the parties. In many cases their stories 
•differ widely in regard to facts and names. 

As early as 1820, the Tulare, San Joaquin, and Sac- 
ramento valleys were occupied by trappers, who 
had Avandered there while searching for the Colum- 
bia river. Captain Sutter, in 1834, while in New 
Mexico, heard from these California trappers of the 
Sacramento valley, which afterwards became so 
reputed as his home. The disputes arising in regard 
to the occupation of the northern part of the Pacific 
coast trapping region, in Oregon, led the American 
hunters to occupy the territory in and about the 
Eocky Mountains. In 1815, Congress, at the earnest 
request of the people of the West, passed an Act 
driving out British traders from the American terri- 
tory east of the Rocky Mountains. Immediately 
the employes of the old North American Fur Com- 
pany, still under charge of John Jacob Astor, began 
to trap and hunt in the region of the head-waters of 
the Mississippi and Upper Missouri. In 1823, Mr. 
W. H. Ashley, of St. Louis, an old merchant in the 
fur trade, at the head of a party, explored the 
Sweetwater, the Platte, the South Pass, and the 
head-waters of the Colorado, returning in the Sum- 
mer. In 1824 he extended his explorations to Great 
Salt Lake, near which, on a smaller lake named 



Lake Ashley, he built a fort and trading post, which 
was occupied for three years by his men. In 1826 
(_or 1827) Mr. Ashley disposed of his business, 
including the fort, to the Rocky Mountain Fur Com- 
pany, under the leadership of Jedediah Smith, 
David Jackson and William Sublette. 

Luring the Spring of 1825, Smith, with a party of 
forty trappers and Indians, started from the head- 
quarters on Green river, traveling westward, crossed 
the Sierra .Nevada mountains, and in July entered 
the Tulare valley. The country from the Tulare to 
the American fork of the Sacramento river was 
traversed in trapping for beaver. They found at the 
fork another party of American trappers encamped, 
and located their own rendezvous near the present 
town of Folsom. in October, Smith, leaving the 
remainder of the party at the camp, returned to the 
company's head-quarters on Green river. In May, 
182(5, Smith again set out for the new trapping- 
region, taking a route further south than on the first 
trip, but when in the Mohave settlements, on the 
Colorado, all the party except Smith, Galbraith, and 
Turner, were killed by Indians. These three escaped 
to San Gabriel Mission, and Lecember26, 1826, were 
arrested as spies or filibusters. They were taken to 
the presidio at San Liego, where they were detained 
until the following certificate from Americans then 
in San Francisco was presented: — 

"We, the undersigned, having been requested by 
Capt. J edediah S. Smith to state our opinion regarding 
his entering the Province of California, do not hesi- 
tate to say that we have no doubt but that he was com- 
pelled to, for want of provisions and water, having 
entered so far into tne barren country that lies 
between the latitudes of forty-two and forty-three 
west, that he found it impossible to return by the 
route he came, as his horses had most of them per- 
ished tOr want of food and water ; he was thereiore 
under the necessity of pushing forward to California, 
it being the nearest place where he could procure 
supplies to enable him to return. 

" We further state as our opinion, that the 
account given by him is circumstantially correct, 
and that nis sole object was the hunting and trap- 
ping of beaver and other furs. 

" VV.e have also examined the passports produced 
by him from the Superintendent of Indian affairs 
for the Government of the United States of Amer- 
ica, and do not hesitate to say we believe them per- 
fectly correct. 

" We also state that, in our opinion, his motives 
for wishing to pass by a different route to the Co- 
lumbia river, on his return, is solely because he feels 
convinced that he and his companions run great risk 
of perishing if they return by the route they came. 

" In testimony whereof we have hereunto set our 
hand and seal, this 2Uth day of Lecember, 1826. 

William G. Lana, Captain of schooner Waverly. 
. William H. Cunningham, Captain of ship Courier. 

William Henderson, Captain of brig OUoe Branch. 

James Scott. 

Thom"as M. Robbins, Mate of schooner Waverbj. 

Thomas Shaw, Supercargo of ship Courier." 

Smith was liberated, and during the Summer of 1827, 
with his party, left the Sacramento valley, journeying 

toward the Columbia river. While encamped at the 
mouth of the Umpqua river, near Cape Arago, the 
Indians attacked them, and, with the exception of 
Smith, Richard Laughlin, and Daniel Prior, killed 
the entire party. These three escaped to Fort Van- 
couver, where they received a cordial reception and 
kind treatment. Some writers state that Smith then 
went directly to St. Louis, while others claim that, 
with a party of the Hudson Ray Company's men, he 
returned to the scene of his last battle, and meeting 
no opposition, journeyed on and down the Sacra- 
mento valley until he reached the junction of the 
Sacramento and Feather rivers, near which a camp 
was located. This party, under command of a 
Scotchman named McLeod, was the first of the 
Hudson Bay Company to occupy California. If the 
latter version is correct, then Smith soon after left 
the party and returned to the trapping grounds of 
his own company. 

In the Spring of 1832, Capt. B. L. E. Bonne- 
ville, an officer in the United States Army, on fur- 
lough, at the head of a company of one hundred 
men, with wagons, horses, mules, and merchandise, 
crossed the Rocky Mountains, leading parties of men 
into the Colorado, Humboldt and Sacramento valleys. 

Ewing Young, who had trapped with parties on 
the upper part of the Del Norte, the eastern part of 
the Grand and the Colorado rivers, pursuing the 
route formerly traversed by Smith, in the Winter of 
1829-3U, entered the San Joaquin valley, and 
hunted on Tulare lake and the adjacent streams. 
During the last part of 1832, or early in 1833, Young, 
having again entered the San Joaquin valley and 
trapped on the streams, finally arrived at the Sacra- 
mento river, about ten miles below the mouth of the 
American. He followed up the Sacramento to the 
Feather river, and from there crossed over to the 
coast. The coast-line was traveled till they 
reached the mouth of the Umpqua, where they 
crossed the mountains to the inland. Entering the 
upper portion of the Sacramento valley, they pro- 
ceeded southerly till th§y reached the American 
river. Then they followed down the San Joaquin 
valley, and passed out through the Tejon pass, in 
the Winter of 1833-1. Besides these parties and 
leaders mentioned, during this period there were 
several trappers or "lone traders," who explored 
and hunted through the valleys. 

The attention of the officers of the wealthy and 
powerful Hudson Bay Company was first specially 
called to the extent and importance of the fur trade 
in California by Jedediah Smith, in 1827 or 1828. 
The first expedition sent out by them was that 
under the command of McLeod. A short time alter 
the departure of this company, a second one was 
sent out under the leadership of Mr. Ogden, which 
followed up the Columbia and Lewis rivers, thence 
southerly over Western Utah, Nevada, and into the 
San Joaquin valley. On their return they trapped 
I on the streams in Sacramento valley, and went out 



at the northern limit in L830. About, the middle of 

1832 another band of trappers, under Michael Lafram- 
boise, came into the Sacramento valley from the 
north, and until the next Spring spent the time in trap- 
ping on the streams flowing througb the great val- 
ley. The Hudson Bay Company continued sending 
out its employes into this region until about the year 
1845. Their trappers in California belonged to the 
"Southern Trapping Party of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany," and were divided into smaller parties composed 
of Canadians and Indians, with their wives. The 
trapping was carried on during the Winter, in 
order to secure a good class of furs. The free trap- 
pers were paid ten shillings sterling for a prime 
beaver skin, while the Indians received a moderate 
compensation for their services. The outfits and 
portions of their food were purchased from the com- 
pany. The Hudson Bay Company employed about 
ninety or one hundred men in this State. The 
greater part of the Indians were fugitives from the 
Missions, and were honest and peaceably inclined, 
from the fact that it was mainly to their interest to 
be so. From 1832 the chief rendezvous was at 
French Camp, about five miles south of Stockton. 
About 1841 the company bought of Jacob P. Leese 
the building he had erected for a store in San Fran- 
cisco, and made that their business center for this 
territory. The agents were J. Alex. Forbes, and 
William G. Ray, both of whom were intelligent, dig- 
nified, and courteous gentlemen. Mr. Ray, who was 
very sensitive, and given slightly to dissipation, 
when some complaint of a trivial character was made 
in reference to his acts, committed suicide in 
1845. His death, and the scarcity of beaver and 
otter, caused the company to wind up their agency 
and business in the territory. Mr. Forbes was, for- 
a long series of years, the British Consul at San 
Francisco, and by his genial manners, superior cul- 
ture, and finished education, made a good record, 
which places him among the noted men of the State. 
This gentleman now resides in Oakland, and 
although seventy-five years of age, bis faculties are 
as strong as ever. His memory is wonderful, and 
this power of retention, with the vast fund of knowl- 
edge possessed, has been of great service to the his- 
torian. He has the honor of being the first English 
historian of California, his " California," published in 
London in 1839, being written in Mexico four y T cars 
previous to the date of its publication.* 

During the months of January and February, 1844, 
John C. Fremont, then Brevet Captain of Topo- 
graphical Engineers, on his return from his first 
exploring expedition to Oregon, passed down the 
east side of the Siei-ras, and crossed the snow-cov- 
ered summit of New Helvetia (Sacramento), suffer- 
ing many privations and hardships. His experiences 
are so clearly i*elated in his report to the Chief of 
Engineers, that the portion relating to this stage of 
his journey is hex*e given to show the character of 

*Mr. Forbes died recently of heart disease. 

the mountains, thenatureof the inhabitants, and the 
scarcity of knowledge of the Sierras, although the 
passage was made in El Dorado county. Passing by 
i lie accounl of his journey soul hward from the Dalles 
WO take up his narrative on the evening of Jan- 
uary 31, 1844, upon reaching the Upper Truckee 
river, south of Lake Tahoe. 

"In the course of the afternoon, one of the nun 
had his foot- frost-bitten; and about dark we had the 
satisfaction of reaching the bottom of a stream tim- 
bered with large trees, among which we found a 
sheltered cam]), with an abundance of such grass as 
the season afforded, for the animals. We saw before 
us, in descending from the pass, a great, continuous 
range, along which stretched the valley of the river; 
the lower parts steep, and dark with pines, while 
above it was hidden in clouds of snow. This we felt 
satisfied was the central ridge of the Sierra Nevada, 
the great California mountain, which now only inter- 
vened between us and the waters of the bay. We 
had made a forced march of twenty-six miles, and 
three mules had given out on the road. Up to this 
point, with the exception -of two stolen by Indians, 
we had lost none of the horses which had been 
brought from the Columbia river, and a number of 
these were still strong, and in tolerably good order. 
We bad now sixty-seven animals in the band. (The 
party consisted of twenty-five persons ) 

i< * * * A,y e gathered together a few of the more 
intelligent of the Indians, and held this evening an 
interesting council. I explained to them my inten- 
tions. I told them that we had come from a very 
far country, having been traveling now nearly a year, 
and that we were desirous simply to go across the 
mountain into the country of the other whites. 
There were two who appeared particularly intelli- 
gent — one, a somewhat old man. He told me that, 
before the snows fell, it was six sleeps to the place 
where the whites lived, but that now it was impossi- 
ble to cross the mountain on account of the deep 
snow; and showing us, as the others bad done, that 
it was over our heads, he urged us strongly to fol- 
low the course of the river, -which, he said, would 
conduct us to a lake (Tahoe), in which there were 
many large fish. There, he said, Avcrc many people; 
there was no snow on the ground, and we might 
remain there until the Spring. From their descrip- 
tions, we were enabled to judge that we were en- 
camped on the upper water of the Salmon Trout 
river. It is hardly necessary to say that our com- 
munication was only by signs, as we understood 
nothing of their language; but they spoke, notwith- 
standing, rapidly and vehemently, explaining what 
they considered the folly of our intentions, and urg- 
ing us to go down to the lake. Tah-ve, a word 
sio-nifying snow, Ave very soon learned to know, from 
its frequent repetition. I told him that the men and 
horses Avere strong, and that Ave Avould break a road 
through the snow; and spreading before him our bales 
of scarlet cloth and trinkets, showed him Avhat we 
would give for a guide. It was necessary to obtain 
one, if possible, for I had determined hereto attempt 
the passage of the mountain. Pulling a bunch of 
grass from the ground, after a short discussion 
among themselves, the old man made us comprehend 
that if we could break through the snovv, at the 
end of three days Ave Avould come down upon grass, 
Avhich bcshoAved usAvould be about six inches high, 
and where the ground Avould be entirely free. So far, 
ho said, he had been in bunting for elk; but beyond 



that (and he closed his eyes) he had seen nothing; 
hat there was one amongthem who had been to the 
whites, and, going out of the lodge, he returned with 
a young man of very intelligent appearance. Here, 
said he, is a young man who has seen the whites Avith 
his own eyes; and he swore, first by the sky, and 
then by the ground, that what he said was true. 
With a large present of goods, we prevailed upon this 
young man to be our guide, and he acquired among 
us the name Melo — a word signifying friend, which 
they used very frequently. He was thinly clad and 
nearly bare-footed, his moccasins being about worn 
out. We gave him skins to make a new pair, to enable 
him to perform his undertaking to us. The Indians re- 
mained in the camp during the night, and we kept 
the guide and two others to sleep in the lodge with 
us — Carson (Kit Carson) lying across the door, 
having made them acquainted with the use of our 
fire-arms. The snow, which had intermitted in the 
evening, commenced falling again in the course of 
the night, and it snowed steadily all day. In 
the morning I acquainted the men with my decision, 
and explained to them that necessity required us to 
make a great effort to clear the mountains. I 
reminded them of the beautiful valley of the Sacra- 
mento, with which they were familiar from the 
descriptions of Carson, who had been there some fif- 
teen years ago, and who, in our late privations, had 
delighted us in speaking of its rich pastures and 
abounding game, and drew a viyid contrast between 
the Summer climate, less than a hundred miles dis- 
tant, and the falling snow around us. I informed 
them (and long experience had given them confi- 
dence in my observations and good instruments) 
that almost directly west, and only about seventy 
miles distant, Avas the great farming establishment 
of Captain Sutter — a gentleman who had formerly 
lived in Missouri, and, emigrating to this country, 
had become the possessor of a principality. I assured 
them that from the heights of the mountain before 
us, Ave should doubtless see the valley of the Sacra- 
mento river, and with one effort place ourselves . 
again in the midst of plenty. The people received 
this decision with the cheerful obedience which had 
always characterized them, and the day Avas imme- 
diately devoted to the preparations necessary to 
enable us to carry it into effect. Leggins, mocca- 
sins, clothing — all were put into the best state to 
resist the cold. Our guide was not neglected. Ex- 
tremity of suffering might make him desert; we 
therefore did the best we could for him. Leggins, 
moccasins, some articles of clothing, and a large 
green blanket, in addition to the blue and scarlet 
cloth, were lavished upon him, and to his great and 
evident contentment. He arrayed himself in all his 
colors, and, clad in green, blue and scarlet, he made 
a gay looking Indian; and, Avith his Acinous pres- 
ents, Avas probably richer and better clothed than 
any of his tribe had OA 7 er been before. 

" * * * The river Avas forty to seventy feet Avidc, 
and noAV entirely frozen over. It Avas Avoodcd with 
large cottonAVOod, avUIoav and grain de boe-itf. By 
observation, the latitude of this encampment was 
38° 37' 18". 

• " February 2d. It had ceased snowing, and this 
morning the loAver air Avas clear and frosty; and six 
or seven thousand feet above, the peaks of the Sierra 
now and then appeared among the rolling clouds 
Avhich Avere rapidly disappearing before the sun. 
Our Indian shook his head as he pointed to the icy 
pinnacles, shooting high up into the sky, and seem- 
ing almost immediately above us. Crossing the river 

on the ice, and leaving it immediately, we com- 
menced the ascent of the mountain along the valley 
of a tributary stream. The people Avere unusually 
silent, for every man knew that our enterprise was 
hazardous, and the issue doubtful. The snow deep- 
ened rapidly, and it soon became necessary to 
break a road. For this service a party of ten was 
formed, mounted on the strongest horses, each man 
in succession opening the road on foot, or on horse- 
back, until himself and his horse became fatigued, 
Avhen he stepped aside, and, the remaining number 
passing ahead, he took his station in the rear. Leav- 
ing this stream, and pursuing a very direct course, 
we passed over an intervening ridge to the river we 
had left. On the Avay Ave passed tAVO huts, en- 
tirely coA*ered with snoAv, which might very easily 
haA T e escaped observation. A family was living in 
each, and the only trail I saAv in the neighborhood 
Avas from the door-hole to a nut-pine near, which 
supplied them Avith food and fuel. We found tAvo 
similar huts on the creek Avhere Ave next arrived, 
and traveling a little higher up, encamped on its 
banks, in about four feet of suoav. To-day we had 
tra\ T eled sixteen miles, and our elevation aboA T e the 
sea was six thousand seven hundred and sixty feet. 

''February 3d. Turning our faces directly tOAvai'ds 
the main chain, we ascended an open hollow along a 
small tributary to the river, which, according to the 
Lndians, issues from a mountain to the south. The 
snoAv was so deep in the holloAV that we were obliged 
to travel along the steep hill-sides, and over spurs, 
where wind and sun had lessened the snow, and 
where the grass, which appeared to be in good qual- 
ity along the sides of the mountain, Avas exposed. 
We opened our road in the same Avay as yesterday, 
but only made seven miles, and encamped by some 
springs at the foot of a high and steep hill, by which 
the hollow ascended to another basin in the mount- 
ain. The little stream beloAV Avas entirely buried in 
snow. * * * "We occupied the remainder of the day 
in beating down a road to the foot of the hill, a mile 
or two distant: the snoAv being beaten doAvn Avhen 
moist, in the Avarm part of the day, and then hard 
frozen at night, made a foundation that would bear 
the weight of the animals the next morning. Lur- 
ing the day seA r eral Indians joined us on snoAV-shoes. 
These Avere made of a circular hoop, about a foot in 
diameter, the interior space being filled Avith an open 
nct-Avork of bark. 

"February 4th. I Avent ahead early with two or 
three men, each Avith a led horse, to break the road. 
We Avere obliged to abandon the hollow entirely, and 
work along the mountain side, which Avas very steep, 
and the snoAv covered Avith an icy crust. * * * To- 
wards a pass Avhich the guide indicated, Ave at- 
tempted in the afternoon to force a road; but after a 
laborious plunging through two or three hundred 
yards, our best horse gave out, entirely refusing to 
make any further effort; and, for a time, we Avere 
brought to a stand. The guide informed us that avc 
were entering the deep suoav, and here began the 
difficulties of the mountain; and to him, and almost 
to all, our enterprise seemed hopeless. I returned a 
short distance back, to the break in the holloAV, where 
I met Mr. Fitzpatrick. The camp had been all the day 
occupied in endeavoring to ascend the hill, but only 
the best horses had succeeded, not having sufficient 
strength to bring themselves up Avithout the packs; 
and all the line of road betAveen this and the springs 
Avas strewed with camp stores and equipage, and 
horses floundering in suoav. I therefore immediately 
encamped on the ground with my own mess, which 



was in advance, and directed Mr. Fitzpatrick to 011- 
camp at the Springs, and send all the animals, in 

charge of Taban, with a strong guard, back to the 
place where they had been pastured the night before. 

* # * Two Indians joined our party here; and one 
of them, an old man, immediately began to ha- 
rangue ns, saying that ourselves and animals would 
perish in the snow; and that if wc would go back, he 
would show us another and a belter way across the 
mountain. JJe spoke in a very loud voice, and there 
was ;i singular repetition of phrases and arrange- 
ment of words, which rendered his speech striking, 
and not unmusical. Wc had now begun to under- 
stand some words, and, with the aid of signs, easily 
comprehended the old man's simple ideas. 'Rock 
upon rock — rock upon rock — snow upon snow — 
snow upon snow,' said he; 'even if you get over the 
snow you will not be able to get down from the 
mountains. He made us the sign of precipices, and 
showed us bow the feet of the horses would slip, and 
throw them off from the narrow trails that led along 
their sides. Our Chinook, who comprehended even 
more readily than ourselves, and believed our situa- 
tion hopeless, covered his head with his blanket and 
began to weep and lament. ' I wanted to see the 
whites,' said he; ' I come away from my own people 
to see the whites, and 1 wouldn't care to die among 
them, but here,' and he looked around into the cold 
night and the gloomy forest, and, drawing his blanket 
over bis head, began again to lament. Seated around 
the tree, the fire illuminating the rocks and the tall 
bolls of the pines around about, and the old Indian 
haranguing, we presented a group of very serious 

" February 5th. The night had been too cold to 
sleep, and we were up very early. Our guide was 
standing by the fire with all his finery on; and see- 
ing him shiver in the cold, J threw on his shoulders 
one of my blankets. We missed him a few minutes 
afterwards, and never saw him again. He had de- 
serted. His bad faith and treachery were in per- 
fect keeping with the estimate of Indian character, 
which a long intercourse with this people had grad- 
ually forced upon my mind. While a portion of the 
camp were occupied in bringing up the baggage to 
this point, the remainder were busy in making sledges 
and snow-shoes, 1 had determined to explore the 
mountain ahead, and the sledges were to be used in 
transporting the baggage. * * * 

"February 6th. Accompanied by Mr. Fitzpatrick, I 
set out to-day with a reconnoitering party, on snow- 
shoes. We marched all in single file, trampling the 
snow as heavily as we could. Crossing the open 
basin, in a march of about ten miles we reached the 
top of one of the peaks, to the left of the pass indi- 
cated by our guide. Far below us, dimmed by the 
distance was a large snowless valley, bounded on the 
western side, at the distance of about a hundred 
miles, by a low range of mountains, which Carson 
recognized with delight as the mountains bordering 
the coast. ' There,' said he, ' is the little mountain 
(Mt. Diablo) — it is fifteen years ago since I saw it; 
but I am just as sure as if I had seen it yesterday.' 
Between us, then, and this low coast range, was the 
valley of the Sacramento; and no one who had not 
accompanied us through the incidents of our life for 
the last few months could realize the delight with 
which we at last looked down ujjon it. At the dis- 
tance of apparently thirty miles beyond us were dis- 
tinguished spots of prairie; and a dark line, which 
could be traced with the glass, was imagined to be 
the course of the river; but we were evidently at a 

* With one party drawing 
baggage, 1 advanced to-day 

great height above the valley, and between us and 
the plains extended miles of snowy liclds and broken 
ridges of pine-covered mountains. * * * All our en- 
ergies were now directed to getting our animals 
across the snow; and it was supposed that, after all 
the baggage had been drawn with tlie sleighs over 
the trail we had made, it would be sufficiently hard 
to bear our animals, 
sleighs loaded with 

about four miles along the trail, and encamped at the 
first grassy spot, where we intended to bring our 
horses. Mr. Fitzpatrick, with another parly, re- 
mained behind, to form an intermediate station be- 
tween us and the animals. * * * 

"February 8th. * * * Scenery and weather, com- 
bined, must render these mountains beautiful in Sum- 
mer; the purity and deep-blue color of the sky 
are singularly beautiful; the days are sunny and 
bright, and even warm in the noon hours; and if we 
could be free from the many anxieties that oppress 
us, even now we would be delighted here; but our 
provisions are getting fearfully scant. Sleighs ar- 
rived with baggage about ten o'clock; and leaving a 
portion of it here, we continued on for a mile and a 
half, and encamped at the foot of a long hill on this 
side of the open bottom. * * * 

" February 9th. During the night the weather 
changed, the wind rising to a gale, and commencing 
to snow before daylight; before morning the trail was 
covered. We remained quiet in camp all day, in the 
course of which the weather improved. Four sleighs 
arrived toward evening, with the bedding of the 
men. We suffer much from want of salt, and all 
the men are becoming weak from insufficient food. 

" February 10th. Taplin was sent back with a few 
men to assist Mr. Fitzpatrick; and continuing on 
with three sleighs carrying a part of the baggage, 
we had the satisfaction to encamp within two and a 
half miles of the head of the hollow, and at the foot 
of the last mountain ridge. Here two large trees 
had been set on fire, and in the holes, where the 
snow had been melted away, we found a comfortable 
camp. Putting on our snow-shoes, we spent the 
afternoon in exploring a road ahead. The glare of 
the snow combined with great fatigue, had rendered 
many of the people nearly blind; but we were fortu- 
nate in having some black silk handkerchiefs, which, 
worn as veils, very much relieved the eyes. 

" February 11th. High wind continued, and our 
trail this morning was nearly invisible — here and 
there indicated by a little ridge of snow. Our situa- 
tion became tiresome and dreary, requiring a strong 
exercise of patience and resolution. In the evening 
I received a message from Mr. Fitzpatrick, acquaint- 
ing me with the utter failure of his attempt to get 
our mules and horses over the snow — the half-hidden 
trail had proved entirely too slight to support them, 
and they had broken through, and were plunging 
about or lying half buried in the snow. * * * I 
wrote him to send the animals immediately back to 
their old pastures; and after having made mauls and 
shovels, turn in all the strength of his party to 
open and beat a road through the snow, strengthen- 
ing it with branches and boughs of the pines. 

" February 13th. We continued to labor on the 
road; and in the course of the day had the satisfac- 
tion to see the people working down the face of the 
opposite hill, about three miles distant. * * * The 
meat train did not arrive this morning, and I gave 
Godey leave to kill our little dog (Tlamath), wnich 
he prepared in Indian fashion; scorching oft' the hair, 
and washing the skin with soap and snow, and then 



cutting it up in pieces, which Avere laid on the snow. 
Shortly afterward, the sleigh arrived with a supply 
of horse meat; and we had to-night an extraordinary 
dinner — pea soup, mule and dog. * * * 

" February lGth. We had succeeded in getting our 
animals safely to the first grassy hill; and this 
morning I started with Jacob on a reeonnoitering 
expedition beyond the mountain. 

" We traveled along the crest of narrow ridges, 
extending down from the mountain in the direction of 
the valley, from which the snow was fast melting 
away. On the open spots was tolerabby good grass; 
and I judged that we should succeed in getting the 
camp down by way of these. Toward sun-down 
we discovered some icy points in a deep hollow, and, 
descending the mountain, Ave encamped at the head- 
water of a little creek, where at last the water found 
its way to the Pacific. * * * We started again early 
in the morning. The creek acquired a regular 
breadth of about twenty feet, and we soon began to 
hear the rushing of the water below the ice-surface, 
over which we traveled to avoid the snow; a few 
miles below we broke through, where the water was 
several feet deep, and halted to dry our clothes. We 
continued a few miles further, walking being very 
laborious without snow-shoes. I was now perfectly 
satisfied that we "had struck the stream on which 
Mr. Sutter lived; and, turning about, made a hard 
push, and reached the camp at dark. * * * 

" On the 19th, the jDeople were occupied in mak- 
ing a road and bringing up the baggage; and, on the 
afternoon of the next day, February 20, 1844, we 
encamped with the animals and all the material of the 
camp, on the summit of the pass in the dividing- 
ridge, one thousand miles by our traveled road from 
the Dalles of the Columbia. The peojue, who had not 
yet been to this point, climbed the neighboring j^eak 
to enjoy a look at the valley. The temperature' of 
boiling water gave for the elevation of the encamp- 
ment nine thousand three hundred and thirty-eight 
feet above the sea.- This was two thousand feet 
higher than the South Pass in the Rocky Mountains, 
and several peaks in view rose several thousand feet 
still higher. * * *" 

From the summit the party passed down the 
western slope of the Sierras, following the general 
course of the stream, and suffering many hardships 
and privations, encountering much deep snow and 
sustaining life on none too juicy mule meat. The 
stream whose course was being followed was the 
south fork of the American river. Describing the 
happy termination of this perilous journey by an 
advance party of eight, Mr. Fremont says: — 

"March 6th. We continued on our road through 
the same surpassingly beautiful country, entirely 
unequaled for the pasturage of stock by anything we 
had ever seen. Our horses had now become so 
strong that they were able to carry us, and we trav- 
eled rapidly — over four miles an hour ; four of us 
riding every alternate hour. Every few hundred 
yards we came upon little bands of deer ; but we 
were too -eager to reach the settlement, which we 
momentarily expected to discover, to halt for any 
other than a passing shot. In a few hours we reached 
a large fork (North Fork of the American river), 
the northern branch of the river, and equal in size to 
that which we had descended. Together they formed 
a beautiful stream, sixty to one hundred yards wide, 
which at first, ignorant of the nature of the country 

through which that river. ran, we took to be the 
Sacramento. We continued down the right bank of 
the river, traveling for a while over a wooded upland 
where we had the delight to discover tracks of cattle. 
* * * We made an acorn meal at noon and 
hurried on. Shortly afterwards we gave a shout 
at the appearance on a little bluff of a neatly built 
adobe house with glass windows. We rode up, but, 
to our disappointment, found onl}- Indians. There 
was no appearance of cultivation, and we could see 
no cattle, and we supposed the place had been aban- 
doned. We now pressed on more eagerly than ever; 
the river swept round in a large bend to the right ; 
the hills lowered down entirely; and, gradually enter- 
ing a broad valley, we came unexpectedly into a large 
Indian village, where the people looked clean, and 
wore cotton shirts and various other articles of dress. 
They immediately crowded around us, and we had 
the inexpressible delight to find one who spoke a lit- 
tle indifferent Spanish, but who at first confounded 
us by saying there were no whites in the country ; 
but just then a well-dressed Indian came up and 
made his salutations in very well-spoken Spanish. 
In answer to our inquiries, he informed us that we 
were upon the Rio ale los Americanos (the river of the 
Americans), and that it joined the Sacramento river 
about ten miles below. Never did a name sound 
more sweetly! We felt ourselves among our country- 
men; for the name of American, in these distant parts, 
is applied to the citizens of the United States. To 
our eager inquiries he answered, ' I am a vaquero 
(cow herd) in the service of Captain Sutter, and the 
people of this rancheria work for him.' Our evident 
satisfaction made him communicative; and he went 
on to say that Captain Sutter was a very rich man, 
and always glad to see his country people. We asked 
for his house. He answered that it was just over the 
hill before us, and offered, if we would wait a moment 
to take his horse and conduct us to it. We readily 
accepted his civil offer. In a short distance we came 
in sight of the fort; and passing on the way the house 
of a settler on the opposite side (a Mr. Sinclair), we 
forded the river; and in a few miles were met a short 
distance from the fort by Captain Sutter himself. 
He gave us a most frank and cordial reception — con- 
ducted us immediately to his residence — and under his 
hospitable roof had a night of rest, enjoyment, and 
refreshment, which none but ourselves could appre- 

Gen. Fremont the next day started back with 
provisions and horses to meet and relieve the main 
body of the party, who were several days in the 
rear. He met them near the forks of the river, 
" Each man, weak and emaciated, leading a horse 
or mule as weak and emaciated as himself." Of 
sixty-seven horses and mules, only thirty-three had 
survived that terrible journey across the mountains. 
Many of them had been killed for food, while others 
had died of starvation or exhaustion or lay at the 
bottom of rocky canons, down which they had 
plunged from the precipitous heights above. Many 
valuable specimens, collected during the long jour- 
ney were lost. 

It was in the few years prior to the discovery of 
gold that the genuine pioneers of California braved 
the unknown clangers of the plains and mountains, 
with the intention of settling in the fair valley, of 
which so much was said and so little known, and 



building a homo for themselves and their children. 
Man}' of these immigrants crossed the mountains by 
nearly the same route pursued by 1 he Central Pacific 
Railroad, except that they followed down Bear river 
to the plains. The first BOttlement reached by them 
was that of Theodore Sicard, at Johnson's Crossing, 
on the Placer county side, and a few miles below 
Camp Far West. This settlement was made in 1844, 
and was the first point reached by the members of 
the ill-starred Donncr Party in 1847. Opposite 
Sicard's settlement was Johnson's ranch, owned by 
William Johnson and Sebastian Kyser, who settled 
there in 1845. Johnson's Crossing was for years a 
favorite landmark and rallying point. 

The next Winter after Fremont made his perilous 
crossing of the Sierras, another party, a band of 
hardy pioneers, worked their laborious way through 
the drifting snow of the mountains, and entered the 
beautiful valley, one of them remaining in his snow- 
bound camp at Donner lake until returning Spring 
made his rescue possible. The party consisted of 
twenty-three men: John Flomboy; Captain Stevens, 
now a resident of Kern county, Cal.; Joseph Foster; 
Dr. Townscnd; Allen Montgomery; Moses Schallen- 
bcrger, now living in San Jose, Cal.; G-. Greenwood, 
and his two sons, John and Britt; James Miller, now 
of San Eafael, Cal.; Mr. Calvin; William Martin; 
Patrick Martin; Dennis Martin; Martin Murphy, and 
his five sons; Mr. Hitchcock, and son. They left 
Council Bluffs, May 20, 1844, en route to California, of 
the fertility of whose soil and the mildness of whose 
climate glowing accounts had been given. The dan- 
gers of the plains and mountains were passed, and 
the party reached the Humboldt river, when an 
Indian named Truckee presented himself, and 
offered to guide them to California. After question- 
ing him closely, they employed him as their guide, 
and as they progressed, found that the statements 
he had made about the route were fully verified. 
He soon became a great favorite among them, and 
when they reached the lower crossing of the Truckeu 
river, now Wadsworth, they gave his name to the 
beautiful stream, so pleased were they by the pure 
water and abundance of fish to which he had 
directed them. The stream will ever live in history 
as the Truckee river, and the fish, the famous 
Truckee trout, will continue to delight the palate of 
the epicure for years to come. 

From this point the party pushed on to the beauti- 
ful mountain lake, whose shores but two years' later 
witnessed a scene of suffering and death unequaled 
in the annals of America's pioneers. Here, at Don- 
ner lake, it was decided to build a cabin and store 
their goods until Spring, as the cattle were too 
exhausted to drag them further. The cabin Avas 
built by Allen Montgomery, Joseph Foster, and 
Moses Schallenberger, all young men used to pioneer 
life, and who felt fully able to maintain themselves 
by their rifles upon the bears and dear that seemed 
so plentiful in the mountains. The cabin was built 

of pine sapplings, with a roof of brush and raw- 
hides; if was twelve by fourteen feet and about eight 
feel high, with a rude ehimney,and but one aperture 
for both a window and door; it was about a quarter 
of a mile below the foot of the lake, and is of 
peculiar interest, as it was the first habitation built 
by white men within the limits of Nevada county, 
the entering wedge of civilization that in a few years 
wrested these beautiful hills with their wealth of 
gold from the bands of the barbarous Digger, and 
brought one more country under the dominion of 

The cabin was completed in two days, and the 
party moved on across the summit, leaving but a 
few provisions and a half-starved and emaciated 
cow for the support of the young men, who had 
undertaken a task, the magnitude of which they 
little dreamed. It was about the middle of Novem- 
ber when the party left Donner lake, and the3 r 
arrived at Sutter's Fort on the 15th of December, 
1844, the journey down the mountains consuming a 
month of toil and privation. The day after the 
cabin was completed a heavy fall of snow com- 
menced and continued for several days, and while 
the journeying party were plunging and toiling 
through the storm and drifts, the three young men 
found themselves surrounded by a bed of snow from 
ten to fifteen feet deep. The game had fled down 
the mountains to escape the storm, and Avhen the 
poor cow was half consumed the three snow-bound 
prisoners began to realize the danger of their situa- 
tion. Alarmed by the prospect of starvation, they 
determined to force their way across the barrier of 
snow. In one day's journey they reached the sum- 
mit, but poor Schallenberger was here taken with 
severe cramps, and was unable to proceed the follow- 
ing day. Every few feet that he advanced in his 
attempt to struggle along, he fell to the ground- 
What could they do? To remain was death, and 
yet they could not abandon their sick comrade among 
the drifting snows on the summit of the Sierras. 
Foster and Montgomery Averc placed in a trying 
situation. Schallenberger told them that he would 
remain alone if tbey Avould conduct him back to the 
cabin. They did so, and providing everything they 
could for his comfort, took their departure, leaAung 
him, sick and feeble, in the heart of the siioav -locked 

A strong will can accomplish wonders, and a deter- 
mination to live is sometimes stronger than death, 
and young Schallenberger by a great exertion was 
soon able to rise from his bed and seek for food. 
Among the goods stored in the cabin he found some 
steel-traps, with which he caught enough foxes to sus- 
tain himself in his little mountain cabin, until the 
doors of his prison Avere unlocked by the melting 
rays of the vernal sun, and a party of friends came 
to his relief. On the 1st of March, 1845, he, too, 
arrived at Sutter's Fort, having spent three months 



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3 . :;. *#^f#fp 

, , ,■■■ «. i .. .- <- -i« ■ »■*■.■£ '■■ ;.!•• •„- j- : - 
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in the drifting snows of the " Snowy Mountains " — 
the Sierra Nevada. 

The after history of the Indian Truekee, whose 
name so many objects bear, is an interesting one. 
Passing down the mountains, he arrived at Sutter's 
Fort with the main party, and remained until the 
breaking out of the war in 1846, when he joined 
Fremont's Battalion, and was ever afterwards 
known as Captain Truekee. He was quite a favorite 
with Fremont, who presented him with a Bible with 
the donor's autograph on the fly leaf. This with a 
copy of the St. Louis Republican, Captain Truekee 
jealously preserved until the time of his death. 
After the American conquest, Truekee returned to 
his people, east of the. Sierras, and when the rich 
silver discoveries in the Washoe region brought 
thousands of white men there, he became their fast 
friend and a universal favorite among the miners. 
The Indian camp where he lived was in the Palmyra 
District, Lyon county, Nevada, about a mile from 
Como, and near the spring where the town of 
Palmyra was subsequently built. One day in 1860, 
Captain Truekee went to the mining camp at Como 
to ask the men what remedy he should use for a 
lai-ge swelling on his neck. The men thought he 
had been bitten by a tarantula and advised him to 
apply a slice of bacon. Poor Captain Truekee died 
that night, his last request being to be buried by the 
white men and in the white man's style. The miners 
dug a grave near Como, in the croppings of the old 
Goliah ledge, and good Captain Truekee was laid 
away to rest, the Bible and the paper he had 
cherished so long lying by his side. 

The terrible sufferings of the Donner party have 
been already portrayed. The groans of the starv- 
ing, and the wails of the dying, crazed with hunger, 
will ever haunt the shores of Donner lake, and the 
winds as thej- moan among the drooping branches 
of the pines, will whisper tales of suffering such as 
few have seen, and the most vivid imagination fails 
to realize. The two cabins built by the Donner 
party near that of Schallenberger, and which formed 
the camp of the Breens, Graves, and Murphys, were 
the second monuments of civilization in Nevada 
county. About two weeks before the Donner party 
found the way across the summit barred by the snow, 
another immigrant train passed in safety. Among 
these immigrants were Claude Chana, who now lives 
at Wheatland, Yuba county, and Charles Covillaud, 
one of the original proprietors of Marysville, and 
who married Mary Murphy, a member of the Don- 
ner party, from whom the name Marysville was 
derived. The widely different experiences of these 
two parties in crossing the mountains, but illustrate 
the changes that can there be wrought by a few days 
of snow. This party also followed down Bear river 
to Johnson's ranch, from which point the relief parties 
were sent to Donner lake. The years 1846, 7 and 8, 
saw many trains of immigrants on their way to 
Oregon and California, those for this State crossing; 
9 fe 

the mountains by several routes, though most of 
them came by way of Truekee river. 



Early History — Origin of the Name of Carson Pass — River and 
Valley — First White Men in the Territory — Sutter's Whip- 
saw-mill — Discovery of Gold — Organization of Calaveras 
County — Removal of County-Seat from Double Springs to 
Jackson — Second Removal to Mokelumne Hill — First Set of 
County Officers — Second Set of County Officers — Members 
of the Legislature — Miscellaneous Matters in Calaveras — Joa- 
quin's Career — Chased by Indians — Mokelumne Hill in Early 
Days — Green and Vogan's Line of Stages — Stories of Griz- 
zlies — Bull and Bear Fight. 

A general history of the State has been given, in 
which but little mention has been made of that por- 
tion of the territory out of which Amador county 
was afterwards carved. It is probable that some 
trappers occasionally visited the lower portions of 
Mokelumne river, though not often, for the Indians, 
who inhabited that portion of the country, watched 
with jealous eye the intrusion of strangers for any 
purpose whatever. The Hudson's Bay Company 
had a trail from French Camp to Oregon, which 
was most of the way through the tules, and of 
course far to the west of the present limits. The 
" Arroyo Seco " grant purports to have been made 
in 1840, but it is quite certain that no Mexican had 
ever set his foot on the hills, or had ever seen 
them except far away, from the Diablo range of 
mountains. Those persons who accompanied Gen- 
eral Sutter in his campaign against Mikelkos in 
1843, might have seen the Lyons mountains twenty 
miles to the east. As early as 1840, according to 
James Alexander Forbes, then the agent for the 
Hudson Bay Company in Alta California, all attempts 
to raise cattle on the east side of the San Joaquin, 
had been an utter failure, the Indians invariably 
driving off the stock and destroying the ranches. 


The impression is generally prevailing that Carson 
discovered the pass bearing his name. In the famous 
trip across the mountains Fremont and Carson trav- 
eled northward from Walker's river, crossing the 
river bearing Carson's name in their course, making 
the crossing of the summit by way of Truekee and 
Lake Tahoe. The river was then named in honor of 
Carson, the pass and valley being named from the 
river, so that it is quite probable that Carson never 
crossed the mountains at that point until 1853, when 
he came through with a division of IT. S. troops 
under Colonel Steptoe. 

The first authentic report of the presence of white 
men in the county was in 1846, when Sutter, with a 
party of Indians and a few white men, sawed lum- 
ber for a ferry-boat in a cluster of sugar pines on 
the ridge between Sutter and Amador creeks, about 
four miles above the towns of Amador and Sutter. 
In 1849 the remains of the timbers and the sills over 



the pit were in good preservation though showing 
indications of being older than the gold-hunting 
immigration. The partially filled-up pit may still he 

At this time the country was one unbroken forest 
from the plains to the Sierra Nevadas, broken only 
by grassy glades like lone valley, Volcano flats and 
other places. The tall pine waved from every hill, 
the .white and black oak alternating and prevailing 
in the lower valleys. The timber in the lower foot- 
hills and valleys, though continuous, was so scattering 
that grasses, ferns, and other plants grew between, 
giving the country the appearance of a well-carcd-for 
park. The quiet and repose of these ancient forests, 
seemed like the results of thousands of years of 
peaceful occupation, and at every turn in the trails 
which the immigrants followed, they half expected 
to see the familiar old homestead, orchard, cider- 
press and grain fields, the glories of the older settle- 
ments in the Eastern States. These things, after 
thirty years' residence, are beginning to appear, but 
this settlement is the subject of our history, and 
must not be anticipated. How much the ancient syl-* 
van gods were astonished and shocked at the irrup- 
tion of the races -that tore up the ground and felled 
the woods, the poets of some other generation will 


In the latter part of March, 1848, a man arrived 
in Stockton, then called Tuleburgh, bringing with 
him specimens of scale-gold, from Sutter's mill. He 
informed the people there of the recent discoveries 
on the American river, the specimens confirming his 
report; whereupon, Captain Weber, catching a spark 
from the flame, fitted out a prospecting party, con- 
sisting of settlers on his grant, some strangers that 
chanced that way, and a force of Si-yak-um-na In- 
dians, and commenced the exploration of the country 
east of Stockton, beginning at the Stanislaus, and 
working north. The fever was on them; haste and 
nuggets their watchwords; inexperience their com- 
panion, and failure the result, until they had reached 
Mokelumne river, where the Captain decided to 
make a more deliberate search, the result of which 
was the discovery by him, on that river, of the first 
gold found in the section' of country, that was after- 
wards known as the Southern mines. Owing to 
their more careful search and added experience, 
gold was found north from this river, in every gulch 
and stream to the American river. Arriving at Sut- 
ter's mill, it was decided to commence mining at 
what was called afterward Weber's creek, near 
Placerville. As soon as he had got work on Weber 
creek well under way, he returned to Stockton, and 
organized a party to explore the country south of 
the Mokelumne river. In a short time they re- 
turned with finer specimens than had been found at 
Coloma. A mining company was formed, which 
afterwards gave name to Wood's creek, Murphy's 

creek, Angel's Camp, and other places. Then com- 
menced the general working of the " Southern mines," 
the rush ofminers, the immigration which built up the 
flourishing counties of Amador, San Joaquin, Cala- 
veras, Tuolumne, and the changing of the world's 

The Mokelumne river, the gulches at Drytown, 
Volcano, and lone, were mined extensively in 1848. 
General Sutter and party tried it near the town of 
Sutter, but he was disgusted with the opening of a 
saloon near his works, and left the mines, never to 
return. The emigration from the Eastern States, 
by way of the plains and the Horn, brought a large 
accession to the pojmlation, and brought about the 
necessity of some political organization. El Dorado 
county was organized with Dry creek as its southern 
boundary, Calaveras, with Dry creek as its northern 
limits. From these two territories, Amador was 
afterwards carved, first in 1854, by setting otf the 
territory north of the Mokelumne from Calaveras, 
and in 1856-57, by the addition of the strip from El 
Dorado lying south of the Cosumnes, the boundaries 
farther east being rather indefinite, as will be here- 
after seen. A short account of the organizations of 
these two counties, will suffice for this work. Cala- 
veras county was organized in the session of the 
Legislature, in 1849-50. It is said that it took its 
name from an immense number of skulls found on 
that river. The story was that a great number of 
Indians coming down from the Sierras to fish for 
salmon, were all slaughtered. There is a probability 
that they were the result of the fearful mortality, 
before mentioned, occurring among all the valley 
tribes, from the head waters of the Sacramento to 
those of the San Joaquin, in 1830. The county took 
its name from the river. 

The first officers were William Fowle Smith, County 
Judge; John Hanson, Sheriff; Colonel Collyer, County 
Clerk; A. B. Mudge, Treasurer; H. A. Carter, Prose- 
cuting Attorney. Pleasant Valley, better known as 
Double Springs, was designated as the county seat. 
The courts were held in a long tent, eight or ten 
feet wide, imported from China. The first Grand 
Jury held its sessions under a big tree. According to 
all accounts, justice was anything but a blind god- 
dess. Very contradictory reports are current in 
regard to the chai'acters of the officers. "Fowle 
Smith," an Eastern man, was represented by some 
as a miserable concentration of all meanness that 
was supposed to characterize that kind of men; 
stinginess, cowardice, and "all that sort of thing." 
Others say that he was honest, and would not 
countenance Colonel Collyer's peccadillos, hence, their 
mutual dislike. He has since taken to preaching, 
and is said to be causing great revivals in some of 
the Eastern States. 

Colonel Collyer, according to the same authority, 
was a southern man, with southern virtues in excess; 
pompous, portly, genial, brave, and reckless, with a 
habit of calling everybody, who crossed his will, a 



-d son of a 

, and threatening to cut his heart 
out; a treatment he had applied to Judge Smith, 
until the latter was seriously afraid the Colonel was 
in earnest. Among the peculiarities of Collyer, was 
the pocketing of all fees received in his official capac- 
ity, leaving Judge Smith to collect his salary, or 
extras, as he might. Collyer is said to have natural- 
ized sixty foreigners in one day, charging them one 
ounce each, all of which he applied to his own benefit. 
Mudge may be described in a few words, as putting 
all the money received into his own pocket, and 
decamping when it became too heavy to carry 
around. John Hanson, Sheriff, now engaged in 
business in San Francisco, was a native of Maine, 
and, probably by attending strictly to his business, 
made no extraordinary history. The same may be 
said of H. A. Carter, the Prosecuting Attorney, a 
native of New York. He now resides in lone valley. 


According to the laws of the sessions of the Leg- 
islature of 1849-50, whenever a majority of the 
voters of any county petitioned for an election fixing 
the county seat, the Judge might order an election 
on thirty days' notice. In accordance with this pro- 
vision an election was held in 1850, the two contest- 
ing j>laces being Jackson and Mokelumne Hill. When 
the first count or estimate was made up, Mokelumne 
Hill was said to have been the successful town, and 
a team was sent to Double Springs to remove the 
archives ; but a subsequent count by Judge Smith 
made Jackson the county seat. Smith was openly 
charged with fraud in the second counting. The 
whole affair was probably as near a farce as elections 
ever get to be. The manner of changing the archives 
from Double Springs will be more fully set forth in 
the township history of Jackson. The seat of jus- 
tice remained at Jackson until 1852, when it was 
transferred by election to Mokelumne Hill. The 
general vote in 1851 was: Democratic, 1,780; Whig, 

County officers, 1852: Sam. Booker, District At- 
torney; A. Laforge, Treasurer; Jo. Douglass, County 
Clerk; Ben. Marshall, Sheriff; C. Creaner, District 

1852— Pierce, 2,848; Scott, 2,200. 

1853 — The officers of Calaveras county were : 
Treasurer, A. Laforge; County Clerk, Jo. Douglass; 
Sheriff, Ben Marshall; Prosecuting Attorney, Wm. 
Higby; County Judge, Henry Eno. 

Members of the Legislature: Senators — E. D. 
Sawyer, Charles Leake. Assemblymen — A. J. 
Houghtaling, Martin Rowen, "W. C. Pratt, C. Daniels 
vice Carson, deceased. 

The vote for Governor was: John Bigler (Demo- 
crat) 2,545; William Waldo (Whig) 2,212. 
joaquin's career in amador. 

This renowned bandit commenced his career in 
this county. His exploits are notorious, and like all 
events of that kind, are multiplied and exaggerated 

until the clearest sight can no longer distinguish the 
true from the fabulous. Whether he was induced to 
commence a career of murder and robbery on account 
of being flogged at Jamison's ranch, will always 
remain an uncertainty. His first operations were to 
mount himself and party with the best horses in the 
country. Judge Carter, in 1852, had a valuable and 
favorite horse which for safety and frequent use was 
usually kept staked a short distance from the house. 
One morning the horse was missing. Cochran, a 
partner in the farming business, started in pursuit of 
the horse and thief. The horse was easily tracked, 
as in expectation of something of this kind the toe 
corks on the shoes had been put on on a line with 
the road instead of across it. The track led Cochran 
across Dry creek, across the plains and thence toward 
the mines several miles, where the rider seemed 
accompanied by several other horsemen. Coming to 
a public house kept by one Clark, he saw the horse 
with several others, hitched at the door. Going in 
he inquired for the party who rode his horse, saying 
that it had been stolen. He was told he was a Mex- 
ican, and was then at dinner with several others. 
Clark, who was a powerful and daring man, offered 
to arrest him, and suiting the action to the word, 
entered the dining-room in company with Cochran, 
and, placing his hand on Joaquin's shoulder — for it 
was he — said: "You are my prisoner." "I think 
not," said Joaquin; at the same time shooting Clark 
through the head, who fell dead. A general fusil- 
lade ensued, in which one of the Mexicans was shot 
by the cook, who took part in the affair, Cochran 
receiving a slight wound. The Mexicans mounted 
their horses and escaped, leaving Carter's horse 
hitched to the fence. 

visit to Sutherland's ranch. 
Jack Sutherland, now residing on King's river, 
had, in early days, a ranch on Dry creek, below 
lone, and also one near Plymouth. Soon after mov- 
ing to the former place, Billy Sutherland, then 
seventeen or eighteen, who had charge of the place 
in the absence of his father, sold a band of cattle for 
■several thousand dollars in gold. After the pur- 
chasers had gone with their property, he took a 
notion to count the money again, before putting it 
away in the safe, which, in this instance, was a hole 
in a log, and emptied the sack on the table. While 
piling it up in hundreds and thousands, a shadow 
darkened the door. Looking up, who should he see 
but Joaquin, the famous bandit. To say that he 
was not afraid would be incredible, for Joaquin 
usually traveled with a band, which, probably was 
not far off; but he immediately conceived a plan to 
save his money and life. Resistance was out of the 
question; for he was alone, and no houses within 
miles. He politely invited Joaquin to alight, and 
in answer to the question whether he could stay all 
night with his party, replied in the affirmative. 
Joaquin called to his party, in Spanish, that he had 
found some friends, telling them to unsaddle. They 



were fierce and sullen looking fellows, but he trusted 
to out-maneuver them, lie pretended not to know 
his guests, and set about getting their suppers 
Alter eating, the leader asked young Sutherland if 
he was not afraid to stay alone with so much money 
in the house; and inquired what he would do if 
Joaquin should come around? Sutherland replied 
that Joaquin was a gentleman, and would not harm 
his friends; that he and his father were acquainted, 
and referred to some transactions which had oc- 
curred, in which his father had benefited Joaquin. 
"Are you Jack Sutherland's son?" says Joaquin. 
"1 am," says Sutherland. After some further 
conversation, they laid down on their saddle blan- 
kets, and slej;>t until morning. At parting, Joaquin 
paid his bill, remarking that if any persons coming 
along during the day should inquire for a party 
answering their description, it would be as well for 
him to remember nothing about their having been 
there. Young Sutherland thought so also. 

During the latter part of October, 1852, Joaquin 
was prowling around the northern part of Calaveras, 
in the vicinity of Oleta (Fiddletown). One day, one 
of the Mexican women told an American that Joaquin 
was in the town. As it was a common thing for 
Mexicans to ride from one camp to another, the 
presence of strangers caused no remark. His name, 
however, was sufficient to raise a storm, and in a 
few minutes he was being hunted. He was dressed 
in the usual Spanish style, with wide-brimmed hat, 
serape, white drawers, and pantaloons opening up 
the sides. When he found he was betrayed, he 
jumped on a table in a gambling room, flourished a 
pistol around his head, said he was Joaquin, and 
defied the town to take him. This bravado may 
have been necessary to ensure his retreat, for he 
and his party left immediately, with half the town 
in pursuit. As it was, he came near being sur- 
rounded, and had to force his way out. "Am. 
Parks " had hold of his bridle, but was induced to 
let loose by a shot in his face, which, however, only 
grazed the skin. The party of three or four left, 
amid a shower of bullets from revolvers, none of 
them taking effect, except, perhaps, on the horses; 
either this or the party were not well mounted, for 
in the pursuit which took place, the footmen kept 
well up, some Indians, who joined in the chase, 
being in the advance. Joaquin took the trail to- 
wards Slate creek, and. thence across Dry creek 
towards Lower Kanckeria. Fresh men joined the 
pursuers at every gulch. To get rid of the Indians, 
the Mexicans stripped themselves first of serape, 
spurs, and everything that could be thrown off 
hastily. At the crossing of Dry creek, a half mile 
below Dead Man's creek, a long-legged Missourian, 
with a still longer rifle, came up within forty or 
fifty yards, but was afraid to fire on account of that 
terrible revolver of Joaquin's, which never missed. 
The Missourian never will get out of the range of 
ridicule, that has been heaped on him ever since. 

The Mexicans left their horses, and escaped in the 
thick chaparral on the divide between Rancheria 
and Dry creeks. That night they made their way 
into Lower Rancheria, accounting for their demor- 
alization by saying they had been chased by Indians 
which was true. 

In the Winter of 1850-51 a party of four or five 
men, of whom A Askcy, now of Jackson, was one, 
were hunting deer in the mountains a few miles 
above Yolcano. Venison being worth fifty cents a 
pound they could afford to take some risks. One 
day, while following a wounded deer, Askcy dis- 
covered a party of Indians, whom, by their dress, he 
judged to be Washoes, who had the reputation of being 
much better fighters than the California Indians. 
They saw him about the same time, and, com- 
ing up, professed to be very friendly, wanting to 
shake hands, which he prudently declined. A con- 
ference, mostly by signs, ensued, in which both par- 
ties agreed to pursue the deer, Askey taking one 
side of the hill, the Indians the other. He did not 
follow the deer far, but made the very best time to 
the camp that his short legs would admit of. In the 
morning, reinforced by his companions, he made a 
reconnoissance in force, and, as he expected, found 
that the Indians had made an effort to cut him off, 
the tracks in the snow showing that they had fol- 
lowed him until they sighted the camp. The follow- 
ing day an old Indian came peering about, and, by 
signs, intimated that the bark and wood set around 
the hut would keep out arrows. Suspecting him of 
being a spy, they thought best to detain him until 
morning, when he was dismissed with an application 
of a number ten boot to his rear that accelerated his 


In early days Mokelumne Hill was reputed one of 
the liveliest places in the mines. It had the misfort- 
une to be settled by a heterogenous population — 
Yankees, Westerners, and Southerners, from the 
United States; and French, German, and Spanish, 
from Europe; and Chilenos and Mexicans. Death by 
violence seemed to be the rule. For seventeen suc- 
cessive weeks, according to Dr. Soher, of San Fran- 
cisco, a man was killed between Saturday night and 
Sunday morning. Five men were once killed within 
a week. The condition of things became so desper- 
ate that a vigilance committee was resolved upon, 
which, however, did not continue in existence long. 
One man, who was hung for stealing, confessed, just 
before his death, to having committed eight mur- 
ders between Mokelumne Hill and Sonora. He was 
a Mexican, of powerful physique and desperate 
character. Shooting was resorted to on the most 
trivial occasions. Two strangers sat quietly taking 
a dinner at a restaurant, and talking with each other. 
A gambler seated near, fancying that he heard his 
name mentioned, drew his revolver and shot one 

li — ■ -,, 



man dead. The conversation proved to be about 
mining matters which did not concern the gambler. 
A year after, to a day, the surviving man, who 
was talking with the person slain, had occasion to 
pass through the town, and remembering the former 
shooting of his partner, concluded not to stop, but a 
roysterer saw him, and disliking something in his 
appearance, drew a bead on him and fired; the aim 
was spoiled by some one throwing up the pistol at 
the moment of the explosion. The stranger thought 
it a curious country; his partner was killed a year 
before for some harmless talk; he was shot at while 
quietly passing along the streets. 


The gidches around the hill were very rich, and in 
the Winter of 1850-51 the leads were traced into the 
hills. The j'ield was enormous, even fabulous. The 
hill is supposed to be a continuation of the same 
wash that made Tunnel Hill rich. 


A partj* of Frenchmen opened a hole in the rich- 
est part of the hill. Some Americans mining near 
them conceived the plan of driving them out, on the 
score of their not being citizens. The Frenchmen 
resisted, and the Americans raised the cry that the 
French had hoisted a French flag and defied the 
Government, and called on everybody to arm and 
drive them out. One Blankenship was foremost in 
the matter. The Frenchmen lost their claim. Dur- 
ing the time of the difficulty, hundreds of persons 
jumped into the hole, which was about fifty feet square, 
and carried away dirt which would pay from fifty to 
one hundred dollars' per sack. The Frenchmen had 
camped in the hole, cooking, eating, and sleeping- 
there, to prevent other parties stealing the dirt or 
jumping the claim. Though the people generally 
united to drive the original holders out, none can 
now be found to justify the expulsion, which is now 
looked upon as a downright robbery. 


Charle3 Green and John Vogan commenced the 
business in 1853, running from Jackson, through 
Drytown, to Sacramento in one day. The line prov- 
ing profitable, it was extended through Mokelumne 
Hill to Sonora, making the whole distance in one 
day, through fare being twenty dollars. The cost 
of stocking a line was enormous. None of the 
horses cost less than three hundred dollars each, and 
some of them twice that. Concord wagons cost 
from six hundred to one thousand dollars, and Troy 
coaches twenty-five hundred to three thousand dol- 
lars. A good driver was worth one hundred and 
fifty dollars per month; hostlers one hundred dol- 
lars. Hay and barley were also high, sometimes 
one hundred dollars per ton. Notwithstanding 
these expenses, the line was profitable, the coaches 
generally being loaded to their utmost capacity. 
Staging then and now were quite different affairs. 

Then there were no roads, the coaches following the 
trails, or zigzaging around the dust-holes in Sum- 
mer, and mud-holes in Winter. There were no 
bridges, and sometimes driver and horses were lost. 
During the Summer season the trip was rather 
pleasant, but when the coach stuck in a raging 
stream of water four or five feet deep, the situation 
made a timid man pray and a wicked one swear. 
The highwaymen occasionally levied tribute on the 
passengers, who, though armed, would find them- 
selves unexpectedly confronted with a pistol in such 
close proximity that it was useless to resist. The 
line was afterwards consolidated with the California 
Stage Company, which proved to be a losing con- 


In early days N. W. Spaulding, since Mayor of 
Oakland, and Judge Thompson, of Mokelumne Hill, 
now a resident of San Francisco, were living in the 
same cabin, and both had a kind of rash or breaking out 
on the skin, which was very annoying, causing an 
intolerable itching. Dr. Soher, an eminent physician, 
was consulted in the matter. He said it was pro- 
duced by a feverish condition of the blood, induced 
by a change from the cool air on an ocean voyage to 
the dry atmosphere of California, and recommended 
laxative medicines, which they took for several 
weeks without any beneficial effects. The matter 
became rather serious. A closer inspection revealed 
the cause of the sickness to be an army of grey- 
backs, who had taken up all the available ground 
on their bodies, and were doing their best to work it 
out, their operations being, happily, on the surface, 
however, tunnel mining not having been discovered. 
The clothing and cabin, even, were swarming with 
the vermin. A three days' campaign with boiling 
water, supplemented with a little unguentim, 
expelled the trespassers. The matter was considered 
too disgraceful to speak of publicly, and they paid 
the doctor's bill, sixty-five dollars each, without 
grumbling. Thirty years' silence over so good a 
thing having become painful, mutual threats of 
exposure brought out the story at a recent meeting 
of the San Francisco Pioneer Society, amid shouts 
of laughter. They were not the first or last 
persons thoroughly astonished at the unexpected 
presence of grey-backs in overwhelming numbers. 


A genuine grizzly was discovered in a ravine a 
mile or two from town, and a valiant party, armed 
with axes, knives, pistols, and a few guns, started 
after him. When the huge fellow, curious to see 
what all the fuss was about, raised himself up on 
his quarters to look around, all wisely ran but one 
man, who had faith in his rifle, which carried a ball 
about as large as a pea. He fired and hit the bear, 
only to enrage him however, for the ball hardly 
more than stung him. He soon came up with the 
man, caught his head in his mouth, tearing off 



nearly the whole seal]), and otherwise lacerating the 
man, who surrendered at discretion, leaving the 
bear to make his own terms. By remaining entirely 
passive, the man induced his bearship, Ursa, the ter 
rible. to suspend farther punishment. After the 
bear loft, tho man contrived to crawl towards his 
home. A short time alter a party better armed pur- 
sued the bear and killed him. Curious to see what 
effect the pea rifle had on the bear, they examined 
his hide, and found that the ball penetrated it and 
lodged against the shoulder-blade, without injuring 
the animal at all. The bear was a monster. 
When loaded into an ordinary wagon-bed, eleven 
feet long, his legs stuck out behind fully three feet, 
making his total length not far from fourteen feet. 
He was poor and tough, and was not considered fit for 
food. When discovered he was feeding on carrion. 


This occurred near the Bl Dorado county line. 
The bear had been seen several times and was known 
to frequent a patch of thick chaparral. A party of 
ten or twelve persons, among whom were the John- 
stons, Jim and Jack, started out to find him. They 
succeeded in getting a fatal shot at his majesty the 
bear, which contrary to all expectation, retreated 
into the thick brush. From the amount of blood 
along his trail they judged that he was too severely 
wounded to be dangei-ous, and they imprudently fol- 
lowed him. The infuriated animal charged upon the 
Johnstons, who were foremost, and brought one of 
them to the ground, his gun during the encounter 
being thrown out of reach. The other fired when the 
opportunity presented itself to do so without endan- 
gering his brother's life, again wounding the bear, 
which left the first one to pursue the other. It does 
not seem that they succeeded in loading again, but 
each endeavored to draw the bear away from the 
other by pounding him over the head with the gun, 
when the animal would get the other down and com- 
mence again gnawing and lacerating his arms, 
head and body. It was a desperate fight now to get 
away. The balance of the party had deserted them 
at the first sight of the animal, when he made his 
charge, leaving the two to their fate. Jack's arms 
were now so useless from the repeated crushings, that 
he could no longer raise the gun to strike the bear, 
but still intent to get his brother away, he pushed 
his shoulder against the animal, which would leave 
the other for a moment. The creature was a monster 
in size, his back being nearly on a level with Jack's 
shoulder. The struggle seemed hopeless, but at the 
last moment the bear, becoming exhausted or sub- 
dued by the severe wounds, gave a kind of snarl and 
again beat a retreat. One of the men was now 
utterly helpless and the other one not much better; he 
however, succeeded in dragging his brother out of 
the brush to the open ground. He was taken away 
in a wagon and cared for, and recovered after several 
months. The crippled hand and arm, and terrible 

scai> all over his person, attest the severity of the 
contest. After their recovery they revisited the 
place. They found t lie skeleton of I he bear, which 
was of unheard of dimensions. The stories of hears 
weighing fifteen hundred pounds, to those who have 
seen only the hears of two or three hundred pounds 
weight, which frequent the mountains of the Eastern 
States, seem utterly absurd. Making allowance for 
the exaggeration natural under some circumstances, 
there can be no doubt of their occasionally reaching 
to a monstrous size, perhaps weighing seventeen or 
eighteen hundred pounds. 


In 1850 grizzlies were occasionally met with, and 
they hardly ever gave the road, though not apt to 
attack man unless provoked. It was Mr. Spaulding's 
good fortune to have one of the most thrilling 
adventures with one, that is recorded. At that time he 
was in charge of a saw-mill and had occasion to visit 
Mokelumne Hill late in the day. The trail led 
through a deep, shadowy glen which the animals 
sometimes visited, trampling down the brush and leav- 
ing tracks twice as large as a Hoosier's. As a mat- 
ter of prudence he took his rifle promising himself to 
" fight it out on that line" if he met one. The day- 
light trip was well enough, no " bars " putting in an 
appearance, but on his return after night-fall, as he 
descended into the cool, shadowy part of the glen, he 
heard the ominous cracking of the brush, and the 
sound of footfalls along the trail. Nearer and nearer 
came the animal that was never known to give the 
road. To turn back was contrary to our hero's prin- 
ciples. Pierpont's 

The ground's your own, my braves. 
Will ye give it up to slaves ? 
Look ye for greener graves ?" 

Prom the old school reader, flashed through his mind, 
and he stood! With gun cocked and hair on end, he 
w T aited the onset. As the outline of the animal came 
dimly into view he took as good aim as possible and 
fired. An unearthly growling was succeeded by the 
monster's tumbling, rolling, and tearing down the 
trail to the bottom of the deep ravine. It was evi- 
dent the animal was severely wounded, and like all 
grizzlies, would be then most dangerous, even if the 
wound was mortal. To go down into the dark and 
thick woods and fight the grizzly alone, would be 
dangerous, perhaps fatal to him, for had not the 
grizzly proved a match for many men even when 
fatally wounded ? Life was bright before him; hopes 
of meeting — well, no matter whom, and renewing 
the tender relations; hopes of wealth, of political 
success, of honor — were not these worth more than 
the chance of killing a grizzly ? He went back on 
the trail, and making a wide circuit, reached the 
camp at a late hour, exhausted with the excitement 
and his long walk. After hearing his adventures the 
men made up a company to visit the ravine the next 



morning and finish the monster. All the guns were 
heavily loaded, and plans laid for approaching the 
animal with the least danger. The most vulnerable 
parts of the grizzly were duly discussed, some con- 
tending for an eye shot, others a side shot, at the 
heart, etc. Cautiously they descended into the deep 
ravine, avoiding clumps of trees or chaparral. At 
the bottom they found signs of the conflict — blood 
and broken brush. One, bolder than the rest, fol- 
lowed the trail, and — a great roar of laughter, with 
"Darned if it aint Dr. Herschner's old jackass," 
changed the sentiment of the party. The poor, 
patient old fellow had packed many a load of grub to 
the miners, and would, when relieved of his burden, 
return home alone, but he had made his last trip. 
Forty dollars paid for the animal, but many forties 
would not pay for the liquors and cigars at Spaulding's 
expense; and the end is not yet, for a mention of hunt- 
ing grizzlies will still bring out the best in the house. 


In the days when Calaveras and Amador were 
one, the population of the ancient capital were wont 
to amuse themselves with bull and bear fights. Sun- 
day, by custom, was the day set apart for these 
exhibitions, for, on that day, everybody came to 
town. A large portion of the population was Span- 
ish, and anything pertaining to the fighting of bulls 
would draw out the full Mexican population, senors 
sefioras, and sefioritas. Spanish cattle were plenti- 
ful, and there were plenty of men who had been 
trained to handle them; but bears, real grizzlies, 
were not so easily caught and handled." They were 
valued all the way from one to four thousand dol- 
lars; consequently, when a real grizzly was caught 
and caged, he was generally given an unfair advan 
tage. The bull was lassoed just before the fight, 
his horns sawed off, and the fight pretty well taken 
out of him before he was turned into the ring. On 
one occasion, the miners, and other spectators, got 
rampant over the way in which a steer was sac- 
rificed, " without any fight at all worth speaking of." 
Unfortunately, for the exhibitors, the bull-pen close 
by had several fierce, untamed, and undaunted 
steers, any one of which felt amply able to avenge 
their slaughtered companion. One of them espe- 
cially attracted the notice of the spectators. He 
would have filled the old Mosaic requirements, being 
perfect in all his parts. Lithe as a cat, his horns 
long and slender, he commenced bounding around 
his limited arena as soon as he heard the bellowino-s 
of his less able companero, that was being chawed and 
clawed in the hug of the grizzlj'. 

The vaqueros were ordered to turn the anxious 
steer into the pen, a hundred revolvers being drawn 
to enforce the request. The proprietors knew that 
business was on hand, unless the request was acceded 
to, as the grizzly was sure to be shot, and, perhaps, 
some of their own number, too. There was no alter- 
native, and they turned the anxious fellow in, though 

they expected the bear would be slain in a short 
time. The bull came in, proud and defiant, gave a 
snort of contempt, whirled his tail high in the air, 
lowered his head, and made a charge. His majesty 
seemed not to be aware of any unusual company, 
and looked as placid and serene as though he had 
just made an ample dinner of young and tender pig, 
and was going to take his daily afternoon nap. He 
received the bull with his usual affectionate hug, 
the bull's horns passing each side of his body. He 
caught the bull by the back of the neck with his 
mouth, and with the aid of his forepaws, held him 
firmly to his bosom, using his hind feet with terri- 
ble effect on the bulls neck and sides. One ear was 
stiTpped off in a twinkling. Every dig of those 
terrible claws left gaping wounds, while the bull 
seemed utterly powerless to inflict any damage on 
the bear. About five minutes of this kind of one- 
sided fighting, served to convince the bull that he 
was not so invincible after all. His bellowings of 
defiance changed to notes of rage, and then to 
terror, and finally to cries for mercy; the last howls 
being so loud as to be heard a mile away. After 
punishing the bull for a while, the bear, entertaining 
no malice, magnanimously let the bull loose, which, 
blinded by blood and rage, made a charge at the 
picket-fence, which separated him from the specta- 
tors, and went through it, scattering the crowd in 
every direction, like a whirlwind. A dozen vaqueros 
mounted their horses and started after him. Down 
through the town went the bull, charging with his 
bloody head at every gathering of men, until he got 
to the clothing stores, kept by the Jews. The bright 
red shirts attracting his attention, he demolished 
these places one after another, monarch of all around, 
until the vaqueros succeeded in getting their lariats 
around his horns and legs, curbing the further 
exhibition of his varying moods of temper. It is 
unnecessary to say that the several acts of the exhi- 
bition were highly satisfactory to the crowd, the 
general verdict being, " That thar bar's some, yon 

It was not always the case that the bear whipped 
the bull. In early days, a bear and bull fight was 
advertised to come off at Coloma. No Spanish bulls 
being at hand, a lazy, good-natured old fellow, that 
crossed the plains some years previously, and had 
since lounged around the streets at will, was selected 
to fight the bear, much to the disgust of the assem- 
bled multitude. The fight was very short, the bull 
killing the bear in two or three minutes, by goring 
him through. In this instance, as in the one before 
related, the victory was won by the cool and wary, 
the victorious bull retiring from the contest, seem- 
ingly unconscious of any unusual event. 





Exaggerated Accounts of Bret Harte and Joaquin Miller — Cook- 
ing and Washing — J lawks, Squirrels, Quails, and Other 
Game for Food — (Jetting Supper Under Difficulties — 
Laundry Affairs — Prevalence of Vermin — The Sanguinary 
Flea — Miners' Flea Trap — Fleas versus Bed-bugs — Rats and 
Other Animals — Visits of Snakes — A Romantic Affair 
Spoiled by a Skunk. 

Foit the satisfaction of curious women who wish 
to know how their fathers and brothers man- 
aged housekeeping, we have added this chapter. 
Men who never tried pioneer life, and have no pros- 
pect or necessity of trying it, may omit reading this 
altogether, or forever hold their peace. Many exag- 
gerated stories are in circulation concerning the 
habits and characters of our early settlers. Bret 
Harte, Joaquin Miller, and a score of other writers, 
have taken some odd sample of humanity, added 
some impossible qualities, and set him up to be 
laughed at, or perhaps admired; when the fact is, the 
caricature is about as near the original as the Indian 
maiden of romance is to the filthy squaw that would 
eat the raw entrails of a horse or bullock without 
adding anything to the dirt, that already ornamented 
her hands and face. The '49er is represented as hav- 
ing pounds of dust loose in his pockets, which he 
passed out by the handful for whisky or whatever 
struck his fancy; as carrying an arsenal of knives 
and revolvers which he was wont to use on the 
slightest provocation — " rough but generous, brave, 
and kind." While it is true that an ideal '49er occa- 
sionally made an appearance in those days — for it is 
almost impossible to draw a monster, physical, 
moral, or intellectual, that has not some familiar 
features — the fact is, that the mass of the people had 
no resemblance to the ideals of Bret Harte or Joaquin 
Miller. They were sober, industrious, and energetic 
men, who toiled as men with ambition and strength 
can toil. The labor these men performed in dam- 
ming and turning rivers, or tunneling mountains, 
was not the spurt of enthusiasm born of whisky. 
Many of the men had families at home whose letters 
were looked for with the most eager interest. The 
younger men, who had not families, had ties perhaps 
equally as strong. The exceptions, which have 
given such a false character to the '49cr, were unprin- 
cipled adventurers from every State and nation, gam- 
blers in bad repute, even among their own kind, 
frontiersmen who acknowledged no law, and fugi- 
tives from justice everywhere. This was the class 
that made a vigilance committee necessary in San 
Francisco in 1850 and 1856; which occasionally 
aroused the wrath of the mass of miners by robbing 
or killing a peaceable citizen. The description of 
this class is not the object of this chapter; thev 
have already, in the hundred books which have 
been written of them, had more notice than they 
deserved. The substantial, honorable, and indus- 
trious must now claim our attention. 

When the luck-}- prospector had found a paying 
claim, the next thing was to set up his household. 
From two to four was the usual number of the mess. 
The Summers were long and dry, and there was no 
discomfort in sleeping out of doors. But even in 
Summer a house, though humble it might be, had 
many advantages over a tent for comfort and secu- 
rity. A stray horse or ox would sometimes get into 
the flour-sack or bread-sack, upset the sugar, or 
make a mess of the table-ware. Wandering Indians 
would pilfer small things, or take away clothing 
which might be left within reach; but in a cabin 
things were tolerably secure from depredation. A 
site for a cabin was selected where wood and water 
were abundant. These things, as well as the pres- 
ence of gold, often determined the location of a 
future town. Bottle Spring (Jackson), Double 
Springs, Mud Springs, Diamond Springs, and Cold 
Springs, at once suggest their origin. In the earlier 
days, log-cabins were soon put up, for suitable logs 
were found everywhere. Though these cabins are 
in the dust — passed into history — there is no need 
of describing them, as the books are full of the 
" settlers' log cabin," and no boy of the present gen- 
eration, who has arrived to the age of ten, would 
need instruction in building one. 

In the western settlements a floor made of hewn 
timbers (puncheons) was usual, but the ground 
served for a floor, and was considered good enough 
for a man. The sleeping places were as various as 
the minds of men. Sometimes a kind of dais, or 
elevation of two or three feet, was made on one side 
of the cabin, where the men, wrapped in their blank- 
ets, slept with their feet to the fire. Generally, 
bunks were made by putting a second log in the 
cabin at a proper elevation and distance from the 
sides, and nailing potato or gunny sacks across from 
one to the other, making in the same way a second 
tier of bunks, if necessary. Some fern leaves or 
coarse hay on these sacks, with blankets, made a 
comfortable bed. A good fire-place was necessary. 
Most of the mining was in water, necessarily involv- 
ing wet clothes. A rousing fire, especially in Winter, 
was necessary to " get dried out." Some of these fire- 
places would be six feet across, and built of granite 
or slate rocks, as each abounded. There was not 
much hewing done to make them fit. When the 
structure had been carried up four or five feet, an 
oak log was laid across as a mantle-piece, and on 
this the chimney, generally made of sticks or small 
poles plastered with mud, was built. A couple of 
rocks served for rests for the backlog and forestick. 
A shelf or two of shakes, or sometimes an open box 
in which pickles or candles had come around the 
Horn, would serve for a cupboard to keep a few tin 
plates, and cups, and two or three cans containing 
salt, pepper, and soda. A table of moderate size was 
also made of shakes, sometimes movable, but oftener 
nailed fast to the side of the house. Those who 
crossed the plains would often take the tail-gate of 

•: l: '.V:;, 


rh^d GrvvtMto JAjul^^. 

m i 

Residence of CHARLES GREEN, 

Plymouth, Amador C? Cal. 

J./T*. BJ&TTON H f*SY . 6 . *, 



the wagon for this purpose. A frying-pan, coffee- 
pot, Dutch-oven, and water-bucket completed the 
list of household utensils. As the miners became 
prosperous, a soup-kettle for boiling potatoes, and 
also for heating water to wash their clothes on a 
Sunday was added. Somewhere in a corner was a 
roll of paper, with pen and ink, with which to cor- 
respond with the folks at home. Cooking was some- 
times done turn-about for a week, and sometimes 
seemed to fall to the lot of the best-hatured one of 
the crowd, the others bringing wood and water by 
way of offset. Not much attempt was made at 
neatness, and oftentimes one had to console himself 
with eating only his own dirt, for there were camps 
where the dishes were not washed for months. 
Sometimes a little hot coffee turned on a plate would 
take off the last-formed dirt; but washing dishes — 
the everlasting bane of woman's housekeeping — was, 
if possible, more repugnant to man, and vra.% frequently 
omitted; it made the gold-pan greasy (the miner's 
prospecting-pan served for washing dishes as well as 
gold, also as a bread-pan, and wash-tub on Sunday); 
there was no time to stop after breakfast, and they 
worked so late that they could not delay sujrper for 
the dishes to be washed, and so they were left from 
day to day. The cooking was a simple matter, 
boiling potatoes, making coffee, frying slap-jacks and 
meat, being the usual routine. Bread? — yes, I am 
going to tell you about that. All sorts of bread but 
good bread, were made at first. The miners knew 
that their wives and mothers put in soda, so they 
put in soda. Some of them brought dried yeast 
across the plains, and undertook to make raised 
bread, but as a general thing miners' bread, was but 
sorry, sad stuff. The most successful plan was to 
keep a can of sour batter (flour and water mixed),, 
with which to mix the bread, neutralizing the excess 
of acid with soda. Some of the miners became quite 
expert with this, judging to a nicety the exact 
amount of soda required. Dough mixed in this way 
and set in the sun, would soon raise, and, if the soda 
was rightly proportioned, was palatable and whole- 
some. The sour batter was splendid for slap-jacks! 
The old story that a California miner could toss his 
slap-jack up a chimney, run out doors, and catch it 
as it came down, right side up, is too old to be re-' 
peated; but it is a fact that they would turn the slap- 
jacks with a dexterous flip flop of the frying-pan, 
though when the batter was made stiff enough to 
stand this kind of usage, the cake would answer for 
half-soling a boot. The better way was to have two 
frying-pans, and turn the cakes by gently upsetting 
the contents of one into the other. Thirty years' 
experience and observation suggest no improvement 
on this method. 

Practice made many of the miners expert cooks. 
New methods of cooking were sought out, and new 
dishes invented. Think of using a dry-goods box 
for an oven, and baking a pig or shoulder of pork 
in it! No trick at all. Drive down a stake or two, 

and on them make a small scaffold, on which to 
place your roast; now build a very small fire of 
hard wood, at such a distance away that a moderate 
sized dry-goods box will cover it all, and your 
arrangements are complete. The fire will need re- 
plenishing once or twice, and in two or three hours, 
according to the size of the roast, you may take it 
out, done in a rich gold color, with a flavor unat- 
tainable by any other method. Steaks were roasted 
before a fire, or smothered, when sufficiently fried 
by the ordinary process, in a stiff batter, and the 
whole baked like a batch of biscuit, making a kind 
of meat pie. Game sometimes entered into the 
miner's bill of fare. Quails, rabbits, hares, coons, 
squirrels, and hawks, were all converted into food, 
as well as deer and bear. Some Frenchmen in 1852, 
during a time of scarcity, killed and eat a coyote, 
but their account of his good qualities was not such 
as to induce others to try the experiment. In 1851, 
some miners getting out of both money and meat, 
shot a young and fine-looking hawk. He was fat, 
and, the flesh looking toothsome, they cooked him, 
and reported that "he was better nor a chicken." 
Some neighbors tried the same experiment, but, 
unfortunately,' killed the old fellow that was pre- 
served from drowning a great many years ago, 
thi'ough the kindness of one of our forefathers. His 
flesh was about the color and consistency of sole- 
leather, and after boiling him for three days in the 
vain attempt to reduce his body to an eatable con- 
dition, he was cast away. Even the rice with which 
he was boiled acquired no hawk flavor, which 
induced one of the miners to remark, "They's much 
difference 'n hawks as 'n women" A second trial re- 
sulted in a splendid dish, and after that hawks 
learned to avoid that settlement. On Christmas- 
day, 1852, a company of miners got up a big dinner. 
They put a fine large hawk in the center of a Dutch- 
oven, about twenty quails around it, and around 
them, potatoes. Some slices of salt pork on the 
hawk and quails, seasoned the birds, and tempered 
the upper heat of the oven. The hawk was pro- 
nounced the best of all. The Winter, of 1852-53, was 
perhaps the roughest time ever seen in California. 
The long spell of high water utterly prevented the 
transportation of provisions from the cities, and 
there was much want, though no actual cases of 
starvation. Many men lived for weeks on boiled 
barley. Beans, without even a ham-bone to season 
them, furnished, in some cases, the only food for 
weeks. At one camp, a pork rind was borrowed 
from one house to another, to grease the frying-pan 
for slap-jacks. 

A narrative of personal experience of one who 
lived on the south branch of Dry creek, in 1852, will 
o-ive an idea of the troubles of that year: — 

"It had been raining for about six weeks, and our 
claini had been four feet under water for a month. 
There were no gulches there that would pay, and we 
had been waiting for the rain to cease until every bit 



of provision of any description was gone, as well as 
money or dust. Something had to be done, even if 
the rain was coming down in torrents. There were 
tour of us, one Yankee, two young married nun 
from Illinois, and a man who had served in the 
United States army in the Seminole war, and. also 
as a volunteer in the Mexican war. We shouldered 
our pick, shovel, and roeker, and started up towards 
Indian gulch. Alter going a short distance, one of 
the Illinoisians got to thinking of his young wife, and 
the pleasures of home, compared with this country, 
and, overcome by his feelings, burst into a blubber 
of despair, and started on the run for the cabin, 
where he was found at night hovering over the cold 
ashes of the tire-place, the tire totally extinguished 
by his floods of tears. 

:< At the head of Indian gulch we found some pay- 
ing dirt. We went to work, and by dint of ground 
sluicing, rocking and panning, about four o'clock we 
had, probably, an ounce of dust. With this I started 
to Fiddletown to buy a supper for the boys. An 
ounce of gold dust, in 1881, will buy almost a year's 
provisions for a man, but in 1852 (flour at one hun- 
dred dollars per barrel, and meat seventy-five cents 
per pound), it was not much. After standing and 
aheming awhile, I remarked that I thought the rain 
would hold up shortly, so that provisions would get 
cheaper; believed that I would buy but a small 
quantity to-night, etc. Mr. Wingo, the gentlemanly 
trader, did not seem to notice my embarrassment, 
but politely sold me the little dab of flour and a 
piece of meat, which went down into the corner of 
the sack out of sight. I started for the cabin, dark- 
ness coming rapidly on, and the rain still falling. 
The creeks were now nearly waist deep, but I safely 
got through them all until I got to Dry creek. The 
log on which I crossed in the morning was gone, 
and the water was running high over the banks. 
Two or three hundred yards away was the cabin, 
and I knew, by the bright light shining through the 
cracks of the door, that a big fire had been built to 
cook our suppers, out of the proceeds of our day's 
work, and to dry our clothes, soaked by twelve 
hours' rain. A council of war was called, and all 
attainable information regarding roads, bridges, and 
ferries, called for. The creek was nowhere fordable; 
that proposition was disposed of without delay. 
One witness, or member of the council, had an 
indistinct recollection of having seen a tree across 
the creek a mile or two below, some days since, but 
could not vouch for its being there at present. This 
being the only information attainable, the com- 
mander ordered a change of base, to the possible 
bridge. Down the creek, in utter darkness, over 
rocks and bushes, stumbling and falling, and after 
an hour's hard work, the bridge was found. It was 
a cedar tree, the butt resting on the stump, the 
large top reaching to the opposite shore, and the 
middle sagged down so that the water was running, 
perhaps, two feet deep over the trunk, and threaten- 
ing every moment to sweep the tree off its moorings; 
for, standing on its upper end, I could feel it sway- 
ing to the movement of the water. But the sub- 
merged part had limbs standing up out of the stream, 
and a charge in force across the bridge was ordered, 
with this caution, 'My boy, if you go overboard, the 
boys will go without their suppers.' The opposite 
bank was gained in safety, by feeling the way and 
holding to the limbs; and, an hour later, some bread 
and fried pork, and a roaring fire, brought us to a 
comfortable condition, and gave us the spirit to 
laugh at all our troubles." 


Necessity compelled every man to do some kind 
of cooking. The calls of a ravenous stomach three 
or four times a day could not be disregarded with 
impunity; but the matter of having clean shirts and 
beds, though quite as necessary, was not so forcibly 
called for, and the washing was postponed from one 
Sunday to another until the traditional washing-day, 
in many camps, was well-nigh forgotten. A clean 
shirt- was hauled over a dirty one, until the accumu- 
lations of sweat and red clay would afford a study 
for a geologist. The blankets, too, were slept in for 
months, for no miner ever dreamed of having clean 
sheets, and as for pillows, his boots tucked under his 
blankets served as a support to his head. When a 
shirt was changed, the cast-off garment was laid 
aside, or left in his bunk to be washed at a more con- 
venient time — which never came. No wonder then 
that the gray-backed lice, the genuine army vermin, 
colonized every blanket and shirt. For months 
respectable men, who would as soon have been 
accused of stealing as being lousy, went scratching 
around without a suspicion of the trouble. Poison 
oak, hives, change of climate, and a hundred other 
things were supposed to produce the intolerable, 
persistent itching. When the true cause became 
known, for sooner or later the discovery was sure to 
come, the conduct of the victims became amusing. 
Some would swear, some would cast their clothing 
away, or perhaps bury it, and purchase an entire 
new outfit — but the fact was the louse had taken 
possession of the whole country; like the angel of 
the apocalypse, he had a foot on the sea and on the 
dry land; in the store as well as in the cabin. A 
vigorous war with hot water, on everything that 
would scald, would exterminate him, though some 
lazy, and consequently lousy, miners contended that 
hot water would not kill them. The louse event- 
ually abandoned the country; but whether from the 
neater habits of the miners, or the coming of the 


Is still an open question. Between 1851 and '53, 
contemporaneous with the irruption of the rat, the 
flea fought his way into every camp, and held the 
fort, too, against all enemies. If unwashed shirts 
and blankets were favorable to the existence of 
myriads of gray-backs, not less so was the swarming 
lice for the flea, for he made meat and drink of them. 
Hot water had no terrors for the flea; he was out 
and off before a garment would go into the water. 
During the day he made his homo in the dust floor 
of the cabin, and at night sallied out of his lair, 
thirsting for blood. And he must be a good sleeper 
indeed, who could close his eyes in slumber, while 
hundreds of lancets wcro puncturing his cuticle. 
Sometimes a cabin was abandoned on account of 
them. A person happening to come in would have 
hundreds crawling on his pants in a few minutes. 



Sometimes a man would leave his cabin and blankets 
and sleep on the naked ground on the outside to get 
rid of his persistent bed-fellows. 


If necessity is the mother of invention, the flea- 
trap was a sure corollary. It was a simple and 
effective affair. It was known that fleas would 
gather around a light; taking advantage of this 
habit, the miners would set a lighted candle on the 
floor, and around it set their pans with a small 
quantity of slippery soap-suds in each. The flea 
would fall in, struggle vigorously for awhile to get 
out, and finally drown. A tablespoonful of the 
rascals in the morning was considered a satisfactory 
catch. Later the bed-bugs drove out, to some 
extent, the flea, and still hold the land. The good 
housewife is often reduced to despair by the per- 
sistence of these unwelcome tenants of her rooms, 
who neither pay rent nor vacate. 

The following article, from the Oakland Times, is 
commended to the attention of housekeepers who 
are still in the thick of the doubtful and unequal 
contest : — 

" Stockton is celebrated for its mosquitoes, Sacra- 
mento for its bed-bugs, San Francisco for its rats, 
and Oakland for its fleas. They are larger and there 
are more of them; they can jump further and higher, 
bite often er and deeper, than any fleas in the world. 
They are more persistent than a book agent, and 
hold with a tighter grip than a money-lender. They 
swarm everywhere — in the streets, the stores, and 
the public places. Everybody 'has em bad.' The 
young and the old, the tender and the tough, alike 
are meat for them.. If you wish to say a compli- 
mentary thing to a lady, ten to one a flea will bite 
you where it is impossible to scratch, while, likely, 
the lady, troubled m the same way, will manifest 
impatience. Do not misjudge her, or be discouraged. 

" You may fancy that your neighbor in the cars has 
the itch; no such thing; only the irrepressible flea. 
Flea-catching is one of the accomplishments of our 
belles. They never disrobe without taking a hunt, 
and boast of the numbers they slay. Even the 
sanctuary is invaded by them; in fact, the church flea 
is the most ravenous of all. Starved during the 
week, he has an extraordinary appetite when the 
Sabbath comes. No bells calling a laboring man to 
his dinner ever brought such joy as the Sunday 
chimes do to the fasting flea. How he rushes to the 
attack as the people take their seats! How the vic- 
tims writhe and squirm as the flea plunges his jaws 
into them! Preachers unaccustomed to the phenom- 
enon, imagine it to be the sword of the spirit bring- 
ing sinners to a lively sense of their condition, and 
they lay on and spare not. Fieas, reverend sir; 
nothing more. 

" Those who have studied phlebotomy think they 
can distinguish the bites of the different denomina- 
tions. There is the flea of the gushing Methodist, 
that is gentle and affectionate; of the iron-bound 
Presbyterian, that bounces you like a bull-dog ; but 
for downright, hard work, take the flea of the hard- 
shell Baptist. liaised amidst difficulties, like the 
Scotchman among his crags,«and the New Englander 
among the granite boulders, he is fitted for every 
possible emergency in a race for life. None but the 

hardiest survive, which proves Darwin's theory of 
the survival of the fittest. 

" The fleas are not without their benefits, however. 
Half of the success of our business men is supposed 
to be due to the irritation of the fleas, who never let 
them rest, day nor night. And then— now housekeeper 
listen — no bed-bugs can live where such a race of 
fleas has taken the land. To use the words of a 
noted housekeeper, "the fleas eat 'em up." Not a 
bed-bug is known in all Oakland. What a blessing 
these fleas would be in our interior towns, whore the 
bed-bugs have had possession for a quarter of a 
century. How the sangrados would riot in blood ! 
What consternation among the respectable, alder- 
manic old bugs, as the bloodthirsty flea, his jaws 
reeking with gore, dashed in among them ! The 
irruption of the hordes of Alaric into Pome, or the 
contemplated raid of Kearney's hoodlums into China- 
town, could not compare with it. 

"If our country neighbors want some of these fleas, 
I think the Oakianders would be willing to sjjare 
them. Though usually anxious to drive a good bar- 
gain, in the sale of fleas they would be generous. 
They will help you catch them. Y"ou have only to 
sleep a night or two in the churches, and you will 
have enough. Negotiations may be opened with our 
Mayor or any of the city officers." 


Eats have been mentioned as coming in with the 
fleas. The mild climate, exposed condition of eat- 
ables, and absence of cats and dogs, the natural 
enemies of rats, caused them to multiply with extraor- 
dinary rapidity. They were as much at home in 
the country as in the town, and a miner, camping in 
the hills away from the town, soon received visits 
from the rats, who thenceforth managed to have a 
share of all he brought into his camp. After he 
had retired to his blankets, the rats in troops would 
run over his body, making it the jumping-off plaee 
in their playful gambols. They left their tracks on 
his butter, gnawed holes into his flour-sack, danced 
cotillions on his table, and kicked up a fuss generally. 
Nothing but boxes of tin or heavy lumber would 
keep them from eating, destroying, or dirtying every 
article of food around the cabin. It will be borne 
in mind that the houses or cabins were made of logs 
daubed with mud, without floors or windows, and 
were accessible to all kinds of vermin, as well as 
rats. Pattlesnakes sometimes crawled into the 
interstices of the logs, and first made their presence 
known by the sharp rattle or perhaps the deadly 
thrust of their poisonous fangs into the sleeper's 
limbs. A young man living on the Slate-creek side 
of American hill, near Oleta, was bitten in this way 
without any warning on the part of the snake. He 
felt the sting, felt the deadly paralysis coming over 
him, and, in company with two or three companions, 
started for town, but sunk helplessly to the ground 
before getting there, dying shortly after. The fol- 
lowing morning an examination of the bed revealed 
the presence of a young and vigorous rattlesnake, 
three feet or more in length. A Frenchman in the 
vicinity, was bitten about the same way, though he 
was living alone and was unable to reach the town, 



perishing on the way, being found in the trail some 
days afterwards without any visible wound. A 
rattlesnake, dead on the floor of his cabin, indicated 
the cause of his death. The long, yellow chicken 
snake would sometimes crawl into the cabin and 
create consternation among the rats and lizards, as 
well as among the miners. As the miners got to 
building their cabins of sawed lumber and elevating 
them above the ground, snakes, rats, mice, and 
skunks, became less frequent visitors. When dogs 
and cats were called in as friends and protectors, 
men, and women as well, could sleep without fear of 
disturbance. Since skunks have been mentioned, 
the reader may feel an interest in the adventures of 
a young and romantic miner with an animal of tbis 
kind, which, possibly, exerted a great influence in 
shaping his destiny: — 

"I had been mining on the South fork, in the 
Summer of '52, and came down to Dry creek in the 
Fall, a little the worst-busted individual you ever 
saw. Save some old, worn-out shovels and picks, I 
had nothing, not even a decent pair of pants. About 
that time two or three families had settled on Dead 
Man's creek, a little above my camp. I had seen a 
slender, willowy form flitting in and out of a cabin, 
and all the powers of my imagination were sum- 
moned to describe her charms. ' Young and fair 
with bright golden hair,' was not then written, but 
I thought it though, as well as many other fine 
things, and spent some days in composing compli- 
ments to her musical ability, sweet voice, beautiful 
eyes, mouth, teeth, feet, ' and all that sort of thing.' 
I worked like a Trojan 'panning-out,' to get money 
enough to buy raiment fit to appear in her presence. 
At length, one Saturday evening, the task was per- 
formed, and I hung the suit up by my bed and 
slept — fondly dreaming — etc. I was awakened in 
the night by a scratching on the logs above my 
head, which I supposed was by the rats. Now, they 
had annoyed me so often in that way, that I had lost 
all patience with them, and resolved to 'fix 'em.' 
A gun was standing by my side, and I proceeded to 
gently draw out a ramrod, with which to kill some 
of them, for, from the scratching I concluded there 
must be a dozen or two, at least. I succeeded in 
getting the rod out without alarming my visiters, 
and suddenly whipping it into the corner over my 
head, did my best to kill the whole of them. There 
were three other persons sleeping in the cabin. 
Hearing the racket, they all roused up with: 
' Whe — w!!' 'What in H — l!!' ' Oh. Je — rusa- 
lem! ! ' We all leaped into the middle of the floor, 
and, hastily stirring the coals in the fire-place, raised 
light enough to see our friend crawling out of a hole 
in the unfinished gable of the cabin, lie did not 
take the atmosphere with him. Clothing, blankets, 
provisions, boots and shoes, and even the very logs 
of the cabin, were saturated with the essence of all 
that is villainous. Months afterwards when the 
scent had become so diffused that we could no 
longer perceive it, I made a visit to Fiddletown 
(Oleta). There was a ball going on, and I stepped 
into the ball-room to get a glimpse, once more, of 
a woman's face. Several persons made the remark 
that somebody must have killed a skunk. I did not 
tell them that the skunk was not killed, but quietly 
retired. Somebody else got that girl." 


Election for or Against Division, June 17, 1854 — Proceedings 
of the Board of Commissioners — Strife for the Possession of 
the Comity Scat — The Owl — Sketches of the First Candi- 
dates — Courts Established — Efforts to Suppress Disorderly 
Houses- — Amusing Procession — Election in 1854 — Condition 
of Society. 

Jackson and Mokelumne Hill had been rival 
towns. When Calaveras county was organized, 
Double Springs became the county seat; for a short 
time only, however, for it was captured by a coup de 
nuila, and transferred to Jackson, where it remained 
for nearly two years. From that place it was trans- 
ferred to Mokelumne Hill, as the result of a choice, 
by election, of the people, called in accordance with 
an Act of the Legislature of 1851-2, the particulars 
of which will be set forth more particularly in the 
township histories. The politicians never rested 
contentedly under this change. Tbey asserted that 
men on the south side of the Mokelumne river got 
the offices, and they went to work to convince the 
people that their interests would be better served by 
having a new county organized. By this time 
(1853) there were several ambitious towns that were 
willing to take charge of the county seat and fur- 
nish grub and whisk//, particularly the latter, to all 
who were rich enough to indulge in the luxury of 
going to law. It was also urged, with too much 
reason to be disputed, that the taxes were being 
wasted at Mokelumne Hill; that no money was 
paid into the State Treasury, more that the officers 
wasted the county funds on loose women. It was 
asserted that whenever you wished to see an official on 
business, you must look for him in one of the half- 
dozen dance-houses that ornamented and conserved 
the morals of that high-toned town. 

In 1853-1 the Legislature passed an Act calling 
for the vote of the people in regard to a division, 
fixing the 17th of June following as the day. and 
appointing W. L. McKimm, B. W. Gemmill, A. G. 
Sneath, Alexander Boileau, and Alonzo Piatt as 
Commissioners, to organize the new county in case 
the people voted for a division. The bill was drawn 
by E. D. Sawyer, one of the Senators from Cala- 
veras, Charles Leake being the other Senator. The 
name originally given in the bill for the new county 
was Washington, but the name Amador was substi- 
tuted in the Assembly, and concurred in by the Sen- 
ate. The bill was read three times, and passed the 
same day — the motive for this hurry being expected 
opposition. A delegation from Mokelumne Hill had 
arrived to oppose the measure, but they had been 
wined until all ideas of county seats were obliterated: 
so a bill was hurried through before the drunk was off, 
lest convincing ai-guments should be urged against it 
when they returned to their senses. 

The pi-ospect of having a county seat enlisted 
a great many in the matter who otherwise would 
have been utterly indifferent. lone was beginning 








to flourish on the sale of water-melons, vegetables, 
hay, and barley, to the miners; had plenty of level 
ground on which to build a town, and had no diffi- 
culty in proving that it was the proper place for dis- 
pensing justice and the disbursement of the peo- 
ples' money. Sutter Creek was growing from the 
development of the quartz mining, which was likely 
to be permanent. It claimed to be the town par 
excellence, having a high-toned, moral people, where 
no dance-houses or kindred institutions, were likely 
to demoralize the public officers, as at Mokelumne Hill; 
The latter reason was a sly thrust at Jackson, which 
had early supported several of these resorts. There 
was also a good place for a picturesque town, the hills 
closing together around the place like an amphithea- 
ter. Volcano — well — it could not urge many rea- 
sons except that it wanted the benefit of a county 
seat. It was true that it was on the outside of the 
county to be created, or any possible county for that 
matter; it was down in a deep hole where people 
had to be hoisted up to get out; the roads beyond 
Volcano went to no'placebut the deep caves, or some 
place still deeper; the town was hot in the Summer, 
and muddy in the Winter, but it was growing rap- 
idly, had jjlenty of men to vote, and might get the 
county seat any way. So Volcano became interested. 
Jackson had been the county seat, and had had a 
taste of the profits and pleasures. It had the old 
jail; that might be repaired and used again, and had 
many reasons to urge for a new organization. Every 
town, too, had a set of candidates for the offices — 
men who were willing to sacrifice their own business 
for the public good. 

On the south side of the river some towns con- 
ceived the idea that in case the county was divided, 
the seat of justice might be moved from Mokelumne 
Hill, so the interest in favor of division became 

On the day appointed the election came off, result- 
ing in a majority, though a small one, for the division. 
But Mokelumne Hill was not to be taken that way. 
The law required that the returns should be trans- 
mitted, sealed, to the Board of Supervisors. When 
the returns were handed in, it was found that all 
from the north side of the river were opened — had 
been tampered with ! They were consequently 
rejected. Here was a dilemma. The matter was 
investigated, and it was found that the returns from 
Mokelumne Hill had also been opened, though after- 
wards sealed again. Several persons, among whom 
was J. T. Farley, had seen the returns from Mokelumne 
Hill, and knew that they had been opened also. The 
fact was, all of them had been opened as soon as they 
were received, and the party in power had resolved 
to take advantage of their own mistakes. A deputy 
Clerk was induced to make out the certificates of the 
election, and the Board of Commissioners resolved to 
organize the county notwithstanding the decision of 
the officers. The proceedings are copied in full from 
a small book, the first of the records of Amador 

county. The phraseology and quaint style have been 
preseiwed, believing that the original form will be 
most interesting. Tucker's ranch mentioned, has 
since been knoAvn as the T Garden, and was situated 
at the junction of the Sutter Creek, lone, Jackson, 
and Volcano roads, and was selected both for con- 
venience and because it was not likely to give 
umbrage to any of the aspiring towns. 

" Be it remembered that on the third day of July, 
in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and fifty-four, the Board of Commissioners appointed 
under an Act granting to the electors of Calaveras 
county the privilege to vote for or against a division 
of said county, and to organize the county of Amador — 
Approved May the Eleventh A. D. 1854. Met at the 
house of Martin Tucker in said county of Amador 
present William L. McKimm, E. W. Gemill, A. G. 
Sneath, Alexander Boileau and Alonzo Piatt; And on 
motion of Alonzo Piatt seconded by E. W. Gemill 
William L. McKimm was chosen President of the 
Board. And on motion of Alexander Boileau, Alonzo 
Piatt was chosen Secretary of the Board: 

" The President then called for the reading of the 
Law appointing the Board of Commissioners and 
defining their duties and the same was read by the 
Secretary; and having been cpnsidered by the Board, 
it was on motion resolved by the Board to proceed 
to establish Election Precincts in and for the county 
of Amador. 

"And thereupon the Board having considered the 
matter and being fully advised in the premises 
directed the Secretary to enter the following Order 
on the Record: 

" Ordered, By the Board of Commissioners that 
there shall be twenty-one Election Precincts in the 
county of Amador and that they shall be known and 
designated as follows, to- wit: Dry Town, Upper 
Rancheria; New York Ranch, Grass Valley, Ranch- 
eria, Amador, Lancha Plana, Gales Ranch, Butte City, 
Russell's, Volcano, Jackson, Plattsburgh, Fort John, 
Streeter's Ranch, Q Ranch, lone City, Clinton, Sutter, 
Armstrong's Mill, White's Bar. 

"And on motion the Board proceeded to consider 
the matter of the application for an Election Precinct 
at ' Whale Boat Ferry,' on the Moquelumnie River : 
and proof being introduced and heard, it appearing 
to the satisfaction of the Board that ' Whale Boat 
Ferry ' was not two miles from Butte City, another 
election precinct ; It was by the Board 

" Ordered, That the application for an Election Pre- 
cinct at ' Whale Boat Ferry' be not allowed, and the 
Board then' proceeded to consider the matter of the 
appointment of Inspectors and Judges of Election in 
the several Election Precincts established by them; 
it was 

" Ordered, That In Dry Town Precinct Chas. W. 
Fox be appointed Inspector, and J. T. King and J. 
D. Cross Judges of Elections. 

" Upper Rancheria — Samuel Loree, Inspector; Dr. 
Cartmill and Mr. Votaw, Judges. 

"New York Ranch — S. Spears, Inspector; John 
Elkins, John Decks, Judges. 

" Grass Valley — Abner P. Clough, Inspector; J. 
O'Neal, G. Shoemaker, Judges. 

" Rancheria — Wm. Snediker, Inspector ; S. Neese, 
Andrew Onstott, Judges. 

" Amador — J. M. Scott, Inspector; M. M. Glover, 
G. W. Taylor, Judges. 

" Lancha Plana — J. W. D. Palmer, Inspector; J. 
Bullard, G. Wagner, Judges. 



"Gall's Ranch — E.J. Martin, Inspector; William 
Moon, J. Albortson, Judges. 

"Butte City — John Reno, [nspector; J. Northup, 
William Young, Judges. 

"Russell's — William Foster, [nspector; Harrison 
Freals, 1). Robinson, Judges. 

"Volcano — C. IS. Woodruff, Inspector; J. K. Payne, 
M. K. Boucher, Judges. 

"Q Ranch — L. C. Patch, Inspector; A. R. Phillips. 
A. K. Sexton, Judges. 

"lone City — Robert Reed, Inspector; T. Rickey, 
J. E. Hunt, Judges. 

"Clinton — F. M. MeKenzie, Inspector; Thomas 
Loehr, S. L. Robinson, Judges. 

"Sutter — William Loring, Inspector; Herbert 
Bowers, N. Harding, Judges. 

"Jackson — T. Hinkley, Inspector; E. C. Webster. 
Ellis Evans, Judges. 

"Plattsburgh — J. A. Dunn, Inspector; F. B. Case, 
A. S. Richardson, Judges. 

" Port John— P. Vaughn, Inspector; L. Sehon, — 
Gilbert, Judges. 

" Streeter's Ranch — Win. Porter, Inspector; Thos. 
Jones, Wm. Amick, Judges. 

"Armstrong's Mill — John Howlett, Inspector; J. 
McDonough, Goff Moore, Judges. 

" White's Bar — J. E. Weeks, Inspector; James 
Gregg, , Judges. 

"And the Board then proceeded to consider the 
form of the proclamation ordering an election on the 
seventeenth day of July instant, for county officers 
and the location of the seat of justice of the county 
of Amador, and it was 

"Ordered, That the Secretary propose a form and 
submit the same to the Board for their considera- 

" The Secretary submitted to the Board a form for 
an election notice with an appendix of instructions, 
and the Board having considered the same, it was 

" Ordered, By the Board that the following form of 
an " Election Notice" for the county of Amador be 
adopted, and that the President of this Board be 
authorized and instructed to procure the same to 
be printed together with the appendix of instructions, 
and that he be further authorized to name one or 
more executive officers, and appoint them to post (in 
pursuance of the law) in the several election pre- 
cincts in this county at least ten days before said elec- 
tion the said election notice, to-wit: 

" Election Notice Amador county. — The under- 
signed, a Board of Commissioners appointed to or- 
ganize the county of Amador under the authority 
and by virtue of ' An Act granting to the electors of 
Calaveras county the privilege to vote for or against 
a division of said county, and to organize the county,' 
Approved May 11th, A. D. 1854, do hereby order 
an election to be held by the qualified electors at the 
several precincts, hereinafter named, on Monday the 
seventeenth day of July instant, for the election of 
the following officers, to-wit: One County Judge, 
one County Clerk, one District Attorney, one Sheriff, 
one Assessor, one Treasurer, one Coroner, and one 
Public Administrator; and do hereby, under said law, 
appoint the persons whose names are placed opposite 
to each said precinct. And we do further order under 
said law, that on said day and at each of said pre- 
cincts, the qualified electors do also vote for a place 
for the location of the seat of justice of said county 
of Amador. The election precincts are established 
and the inspectors and judges of election appointed 
as follows: 

[Here follows a li-t of the officers of the election, 
already mentioned on a former page.] 

•■ Given under our hands and seals at Tucker's 
ranch, in the county of Amador, on Monday, the 
third day of July, A. D. 1854. 

(Signed) W. L. MoKimm, 


A. G. Sneatii, 
A. Boileau, 
Alonzo Platt. 

"Appendix of Instructions: Inspectors, judges and 
clerks of election should be sworn by a Justice if one 
is present; if not, the Inspector will swear the judges 
and clerks, and one of the judges then swear the 

" The returns should be securely sealed with wax 
wafer or paste, so that the envelope cannot be 

" The returns may be made to either one of the 
Board of Commissioners, but with all the require- 
ments of the law in the revised statutes in relation to 
sending, forwarding or delivering election returns to 
the County Clerk with the exception of returning to 
one of the Board; the returns must by the law, organ- 
izing the County of Amador, be made within five 

" The votes for county officers and seat of justice 
are to be on one ballot. 

"If the inspectors and judges are not present to 
conduct the election the voters will appoint them. 

Wm. L. McKimm, 
President of the Board of Commissioners. 

Alonzo Platt, Secretary. 

"It was 

" Ordered, That the President be authorized and 
required to notify the inspectors and judges of their 
appointments. It was 

" Ordered, That when this Board adjourn it ad- 
journ to meet at Jackson, in the County of Amador, 
on Saturday, the twenty-second clay of July, A. D. 
1854, to canvass the votes and proceed to a final dis- 
charge of their duties as Commissioners. 

" There being no further business before the Board 
the motion to adjourn having been made and sec- 
onded, it was ordered that the Board of Commission- 
ers now adjourn. 

(Signed) TV. L. McKimm, 

E. W. Gemmill, 
A. G. Sneath, 
A. Boileau, 
Alonzo Platt. 

" Be it remembered that on the twenty-second day 
of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight 
hundred and fifty -four, the Board of Commissioners 
appointed bylaw to organize the County of Amador, 
met in pursuance to their adjournment at Jackson in 
the county of Amador. 

"Present — W. L. McKimm, President of the 
Board; A. G. Sneath, E. W. Gemmill, Alexander Boi- 
leau and Alonzo Platt, Secretary. 

" The record of the last meeting of the Board was 
read and approved and signed by all the Board, and 
the Board proceeded to open the returns from the 
several precincts and draw up a statement thereof; 
and the said statement having been compared with 
said returns and read and examined was approved, 
and the President was ordered to file the said state- 
ment with the County Clerk of the County of Ama- 

" It was then ordered that the President and Sec- 
retary forward a transcript of the same certified by 



them officially, to the Secretary of the State of Cali- 
fornia and to the Governor thereof. It was then 

" Ordered, That a statement of the whole number 
of votes received by each person for each office, and 
by each place for' county seat, be entered on the 
records of this Board. 

" Which statement is here entered and is as fol- 
lows, to-wit: — 

"For County Seat: Briggs Ranch, 1 vote; Upper 
Rancheria, 1; Jackson City, 2; Jackson, 1002; Sutter 
Creek, 539; lone Valley, 496; Volcano, 937; Dry- 
town, 3; lone, 2; Fort John, 1; Amador Creek, 1; 
Rancheria, 1; Amador Mills, 1. 

"For County Judge: James F. Hubbard, received 
1354 votes; M. W. Cordon, 1184. 

"For County Clerk: Chas. Boynton, received 
1447 votes; James C. Shipman, 1779. 

" For Sheriff: Wm. A. Phoenix received 1500 votes; 
James Harnett, 1410. 

" For Treasurer: James T. Farley received 1384 
votes; W. L. Mclvimm, 1522. 

" District Attorney: \V. W. JJope received 1372 
votes; S. B. Axtell, 1528. 

"Assessor: James L. Halstead received 1345 votes; 
H. A. Eichelberger, 1579. 

"Public Administrator: J. T 
votes; B. B. Harris, 1569. 

King received 1316 

"Coroner: Wm.M. Sharp received 1350 votes: G- 
L. Lyon, 1553. 

" The whole number of votes polled in said county 
was 3021." 

The following persons were declared elected — 
being the first persons elected to these offices in the 
county of Amador : — 

M. W. Gordon, Judge; William A. Phoenix, Sher- 
iff; James C. Shipman, County Clerk, W. S. Mc- 
Kimm, Treasurer; S. B. Axtell, District -Attorney; 
H. A. Eichelberger, Assessor; E. B. Harris, Public 
Administrator; G. S. Lyons, Coroner. 

The Judges, Inspectors, and Clerks, at this elec- 
tion were allowed eight dollars ])er day for services, 
many of them receiving sixteen dollars each for the 
day and night. 

It will be seen that the county seat question was 
one of the principal elements in the election, the 
results among the contestants being: For lone, 496 
votes; for Sutter Creek, 539 votes; for Volcano, 
937 votes; for Jackon, 1,002 votes. 

The following table will give an idea of the com- 
parative size of the several towns: — 




JULY 17, 1854. 
























































County Seat. 







































Sutter Creek 













County Judge. 

James F. Hubbard 

M. W. Gordon 



























County Clerk. 

James C. Shipman 



























W. A. Phoenix 

James Harnett 



























James T. Farley 

Wm. L. McKimm 




























District Attorney. 

W. W Cope 


























S. B. Axtell 


James L. Halstead 

























Public Administrator. 

Jerry T. King 

83 36 
66 29 




2S2 5 

' 44 

















E. B. Harris 



W. M. Sharp 











































L. G. Lyon 

138' 323 


Number of votes cast. 






Immediately after the determination to organize, 
the activity became remarkable. 

Sutter Creek offered to give towards county 
buildings ten thousand dollars; Jackson ten thou- 
sand dollars, and lone about six thousand dollars. 
Yolcano offered nothing, but ridiculed the offers 
of money as all bosh, that Jackson would prob- 
ably donate the old county jail, which was made of 
logs so small that a man could cut his way out in 
an hour or two with his jack-knife, and, moreover, 
the logs were so rotten that an enterprising pig 
would root his way out. Yolcano relied upon votes, 
and it is probable with a little outside exertion 
would have carried the matter for itself, as it only 
lacked sixty or seventy votes of the selection. Real 
estate in Volcano and Jackson went up with a boom. 
Town-lots were staked off everywhere, and, until 
the evening of the election, people were in a high 
financial fever. Yolcano patients soon recovered, 
but the Jackson unfortunates were afflicted for some 

It will be noticed that the candidates at this elec- 
tion were mostly men of ability. Some of them will 
have biographies in the chapter devoted to lawyers. 
Others have become lawyers since leaving the 

M. W. Gordon remained in the county, occupying 
many times stations of honor. 

James F. Hubbard was originally a surveyor; 
studied law, practiced awhile in Amador county, 
moved to San Francisco, and has drifted out of sight. 

Chas. Boynton, the brilliant editor and poet, will 
be mentioned again in connection with newspapers. 

James C. Shipman, several times elected County 
Clerk, was from Virginia — one of the genuine, old 
stock. His honor and integrity have never been 
questioned even by his political opponents— enemies 
he never had. 

W. A. Phoenix was a young man of energy, 
integrity, and ability. He was killed in the unhappy 
Kancheria affair, in which account he will be further 

James Harnett was a farmer of good standing in 
lone valley. He returned to the East and has drifted 
out of sight. 

James T. Farley is our present United States Sen- 
ator, and will have further mention in the proper 

W. L. McKimm, the first Treasurer, occupied many 
positions of honor and profit; was Government Sur- 
veyor, and was employed to settle disputes in regard 
to lines, having the confidence of all parties. He 
was killed by being thrown from a buggy, while 
descending the hill south of Jackson, in company 
with the Hon. John A. Eag'en. 

W. W. Cope, now resident of San Francisco, once 
a Judge of the Supreme Court will have further 

S. B. Axtell, since member of Congress from the 

First District, Governor of Salt Lake and New 
Mexico, will be further mentioned. 

James L. JIai.stkad farmed in the early days on 
Volcano Flat, has since been a member of the Leg- 
islature from Santa Cruz, and is now a prominent 
lawyer in that county. 

II. A. Eichelberger was a trusted citizen of Ama- 
dor county several years; went to Nevada in the 
beginning of the mining excitement, and was acci- 
dentally killed while trying to prevent a quarrel 
between two of his friends. His remains lie in the 
cemetery of lone. 

J. T. King has drifted out of sight. 

Doctor Harris acted quite a prominent part in the 
early settlement of Amador county. He was a 
successful physician as well as miner. He built and 
run for some time the Newton Hotel ; was largely 
instrumental in the organization of Amador county; 
found time to help build up the State Agricultural 
Society; mingled in politics; taught singing, and did 
many things to help build up society. He was among 
the foremost who went to the Washoe mines, put up 
a custom mill, and made thirty thousand dollars 
before other men had time to look around. When 
the civil war broke out, he joined the Union army, 
and was made Assistant Surgeon General, where his 
known skill as a surgeon, his great executive abil- 
ity, and energy, were invaluable. Though genial 
and social in his habits, he never, either by his 
presence or conversation, promoted or countenanced 
gambling, drinking, and other vices, that swept into 
the vortex of ruin so many brilliant and talented 
young men in early days. At present he is practic- 
ing medicine in Nevada. 

Doctor Sharp was an able and successful physi- 
cian for many years in Jackson. 

Doctor Lyons was a farmer and physician in lone. 
He was unfortunate in his domestic relations, in 
being connected, by report at least, in the drowning 
of his wife, which happened in a well in his own 
yard. He was acquitted by the jury of the charge 
of murder, and soon after left the country. 


This was a paper published occasionally in the 
early days of Jackson — a sort of bubbling or froth- 
ing over of wit that was too lively to be bottled up. 
A reproduction of some of its articles will recall 
many incidents, in connection with the county seat, 
long forgotten: — 

In Snougerville's romantic bay 

A gallant bark at anchor lay, 

Whose banner bore this strange device : 

Inquire at Logan's for the price 

Of passage up Salt river. 

The Owl, upon its office door, 

The following flaming placard bore: 

"Here Logan, agent of the line, 
From four o'clock till half-past nine, 

. Sells tickets for Salt river." 

At four o'clock, the anxious crew, 
With vacant looks and pockets, too, 
Crowded around the sanctum door 
Of him, who oft had made before, 
The passage up Salt river. 

RANCH a RESIDENCE <" WILLIAM H. PROUTY, Jackson Valley, Amador count/, Cal. 

■'■.5'/: ''■;.■;■'/■"; ■.■-*■ 


«* IS 


*TH. GRITTC'.' & «cv 5 1 



Towering above the east was seen 
A stove-pipe hat* of doubtful mien; 
Battered and bruised, and crushed, it looked 
As if its owner had been booked 
Already for Salt river. 

The poem had eighteen verses of this kind, filled 
with allusions to noted persons. Snougerville was 
a name given to what is now called Water street. 
One of its citizens was nicknamed Snouger — hence, 
Snouger bay. 

From the Owl, August 25, 1854: — 

There was a sound of revelry by night, 

And our new county seat had gathered then 

Her miners, and her merchants; and the light 

Of tallow candles shone on drunken men. 

A dozen hats had bricks in them; and when 

Some jolly fellow, tighter than the rest, 

Invited the whole crowd to drink again, 

Not one among them needed to be pressed; 

But hush! hark! a deep sound strikes every guest. 

Did ye not hear it? No, 'twas but the wind, 

Or some damned jackass braying in the street. 

Give us our drinks — let joy be unconfined; 

Nor part till morn — we've got the county seat. 

What fellow was it offered to stand treat ? 

But hark ! that heavy sound breaks in once more, 

As if the walls its echo would repeat, 

And nearer, more distinctly than before 

It is ! it is, to be concluded next week. 


The first term of the Court of Sessions was held 
in McKimm's Building, near the present Central 
House; M. W. Gordon, acting as Judge; O. P. 
Southwell and William Wagner, as Associate Judges. 
These last were selected from the Justices of the 
Peace elect. The names of the first Grand Jury 
were D. W. Aldrich, C. Dertbick, D. L. Wells, W. 
S. Birdsell, James Beckman, W. P. Jones, A. L. 
Harding, I. Bell, Leori Sompayrac, Robert Reed, B. 
S. Sanborn, Simeon Burt, Thomas Jones, Frank 
Wayne, A. B. Andrews, E. Evans, S. D. Herrick, 
and J. T. King. 

Levi Hanford not appearing in season, and hav- 
ing no satisfactory excuse, was fined twenty-five 
dollars, which he paid. 

The first indictment for murder was against John 
Chapman, for the murder of E. P. Hunter, of Lancha 
Plana. The case of C. Y. Hammond, who had the 
previous Summer killed his partner Elliot, as it was 
alleged, with a blow of his fist, came before them 
and was dismissed. Indictments for assault with 
intent to commit murder, were found against one 
Mexican, and several Chinamen. They also recom- 
mended the suppression of the houses of prostitution, 
so frequent and conspicuous in Jackson, and the 
other towns; the division of the county into town- 
ships, also the purchase of a safe, for keeping the 
public funds. 

The first trial jury was in the case, " The people 
vs. Domingo Yerjara," the names of the jurors be- 
ing Nathan Coon, John T. Griggs, E. H. Williams, 
Charles Towles, A. H. Kirby, William Jennings, 
John Rawley, John McKay, James Creighton, Will- 
iam Horton, J. L. Averill, and B. Ashton. 

Referring to Colonel Piatt. 


The first Grand Jury had called the attention of 
the authorities to the houses conspicuously kept for 
the purposes of prostitution. The courts paid little 
attention to it, perhaps thinking the Puritanic 
spasm would soon pass away, or that the matter was 
a dangerous one to touch, on account of so many of 
the courts' constituents making their living by it. 
But the second Grand Jury, summoned for Decem- 
ber, 1854, took the creature by the horns, and in- 
dicted several prominent citizens for renting houses 
for the purposes of prostitution. The parties were 
duly arraigned in court. After some skirmishing the 
charge was dismissed on motion of the District 
Attorney, S. B. Axtell, on the ground of want of 
evidence. The jury .also found true Bills against the 
town authorities for obtaining money under false 
pretenses, for licensing the aforesaid places as busi- 
ness houses. On motion of the District Attorney the 
Court dismissed the charge. 

The names of the Grand Jury, which made these 
efforts at reform: George L. Gale, Foreman; James 
L. Harnett, T. H. Loehr, Thomas S. Crafts, I. Stew- 
art, J. W. D. Palmer, G. M. S. Matthews, L. L. Robin- 
son, Silvester Streeter, D. C. Ferris, James Johnson, 
A. D. Follett, James M. Ballard, I. S. Roy, A. Boi- 
leau, Scott Cooledge, and Samuel Davis. 

Though these efforts miscarried, they showed that 
the leaven of reform was beginning to work. The 
practices were not stopped, but the stamp of con- 
demnation was set on them, so that a man seeking 
office at the hands of the people, made a practice at 

least of decency. In a man of education and 

apparent respectability, with M. D. to his name, in 
the town of Yolcano, waited upon a prostitute to a 
circus. There were numbers of respectable females, 
young and old, present, and though the doctor had 
an undoubted right to select his company, the act 
was looked upon as at war with the better interests 
of society. The roads were rather muddy, and the 
portly doctor took the soiled dove in his arms and 
carried her home, the act being as coolly done in the 
presence of hundreds, as though the woman was a 
cherished wife or daughter. The following Autumn 
he came up as a candidate for Sheriff. He was met 
with such a rebuff that he withdrew his name, and 
shortly left the town. In the earlier days persons 
high in office were often seen in the dance with the 
frail ones. 


It will be remembered that the several towns anx- 
ious to have the honor of being the county seat, Yol- 
cano excepted, offered liberal sums for the erection 
of county buildings. Some of the croakers pre- 
dicted that the promises would be forgotten after the 
election. The prediction did not prove true, for 
Jackson went to work in good faith, and at the end 
of three or four months presented to the county a 
nice and comfortable Court House. The county 
officers had been occupying rooms at the foot of 



Broadway, in and around the American Hotel. A 
procession was formed here to take possession of the 
new Court House. The order of the procession was 
as follows : — 


Consisting of cracked drum and asthmatic clarionet. 

[This was as good as the band which escorted Na- 
poleon to his palace on the island of Elba, which, 
according to Sir Walter Scott, consisted of four 
wretched fiddles.] 

Firemen — (In red Shirts). 

M. W. Gordon, County Judge, 

Flanked by 

Wm. Wagner and O.P.Southwell, Associate Judges, 

John Phoenix, Sheriff; S. B. Axtell, District 

Attorney; J. C. Shipman, County 

Clerk; Wm. L. McKimm, 


Followed by Citizens generally. 

They marched to the Court House in a body, when, 
after Court was called, A. C. Brown, in behalf of the 
citizens of Jackson, presented the building to the 
county. Judge Gordon accepted it in a neat speech, 
complimenting the citizens of Jackson on their liber- 
ality and public spirit. Some four or five hundred 
dollars, back on the erection of the bailding, was 
made up by subscription, Major Shipman, the 
recently elected County Clerk, giving fifty dollars 
towards it. The location of the county seat at Jack- 
son, was supposed to insure the permanent prosperity 
of the town. In the burst of enthusiasm following 
the settlement of the matter, the Court,, county 
officers, and citizens generally, were invited to par- 
take of the hospitalities of several of the leading- 
saloons and bars of the town. The procession 
reformed in the same order as before. The Court being 
still in session (according to our informant) the offi- 
cers, jurors and witnesses were compelled to follow, 
or subject themselves to a fine for contempt! There 
is no record of any punishment for contumacy or 
even of failure to partake of the proffered hospital- 
ities, so it is presumed that the arrangement was 
mutually satisfactory. Our informant, though a 
juror, and consequently obliged to follow the Court 
while it was in session, may have been mistaken in 
thinking the Court was not adjourned, but, as sus- 
pecting his veracity would spoil a good story, it is 
best to give the story the benefit of the doubt. 
election, 1854. 

Dwight Crandall (Democrat) was elected Senator 
and James T. Farley and J. W. D. Palmer (Whigs) 
were elected Assemblymen. The county was con- 
sidered Democratic, but the Know-Nothing or Native 
American party had organized and made itself a 
power in politics. The campaign was conducted 
mostly by James T. Farley and Alonzo Piatt, the 
latter, though an old politician, being no match for 
the young candidate, who, though in his early twen- 

ties, showed canvassing powers of the highest order. 
He did not carry any angular notions into the can- 
vass, but professed to be willing to be governed by 
the will of the people. 

The vote for Governor stood: J. Neely Johnson 
(Know-Nothing), 2,035 ; John Bigler (Democrat), 


The Legislature of 1853-4 having abolished the 
office of Supervisors in Calaveras county, the Court 
of Sessions was empowered to transact the business 
of the county. August 26, 1854, the Court ordered 
a tax of fifty cents on each one hundred dollars of 
property, five cents of which was to be devoted to 
school purposes, and forty-five to county purposes. 


The introduction of improved methods of mining 
brought a great increase of population to Amador, 
as well as the other counties of California. Along 
with prosperity came the institutions, the dance- 
house and the gambling saloons, looked upon then as 
a peculiar feature in California society, but which is 
now found to be a natural growth wherever sudden 
wealth comes to those unacquainted with its proper 
use. The absence of the family influence also fav- 
ored a condition of society in which the influence of 
woman was in the descending scale. The soiled 
doves were mostly natives of Mexico, " dusky daugh- 
ters of Montezuma " as the poets termed them, and 
of Peru. It is said that at one time two hundred of 
the frail beauties were resident in the town of Jack- 
son. Their daily appearance on the street or danc- 
ing during the evening in sight from the street, 
called forth no remark of disapproval but had come 
to be regarded as a matter of course. Some respect- 
able citizens made left-handed wives of them, and 
wealthy men did not hesitate to build houses and 
rent them for these institutions. Men who had left 
families in the East were seen in friendly chat, and 
young men by the score or hundreds rather poured 
their gold into wanton laps. Some of these women 
would accumulate ten thousand dollars, or in some 
instances double that, in a Winter's campaign. 

Faro, monte and other games gave the lucky miner 
a chance to double his money or lose it, the latter 
being the ordinary result. Many men who now 
bewail their bad luck in California, turned their earn- 
ings into these banks that receive deposits but never 
pay interest or principal. Whisky, too, had its dev- 
otees, and the principle was inculcated that he who 
would not drink was a mean man. Nearly all social 
' intercourse was based upon " drinks all around." 
When men met and when they parted, drinks 
were in order; when they traded, drinks for all 
were ordered as a matter of course. When a 
man ran for office, whisky was his trump card. 
An old politician said to a man about running for 
office: "If you will not treat, you may as well 
stay at home and give it up." Another one said: 



" Twelve hundred drinks elected me." To decline 
these social observances was to become to some 
extent ostracised. There were exceptions it is true; 
there were men who would shut themselves in their 
cabins and decline all intercourse rather than indulge 
in the prevailing vices. These would remain 
unknown until fortune in the shape of a rich claim 
smiled on them, and then they were mentioned in no 
complimentary terms. Every day men might be seen 
in all stages of intoxication; some crazy with rough 
fun. others ready for a brawl. One day one man in a 
cabin was on a spree and requiring the restraint of 
his companions, the next another. Whether because 
the whisky was bad or because the hot, dry climate 
aggravated the ills of the fiery liquors, or both, the 
effect was disastrous, morally, physically, financially. 
The men capable of writing a solid article on politi- 
cal or scientific subjects, or of delivering an oration 
off-hand, could be seen ranting and howling through 
the streets or sleeping oft' the effects of a debauch. 



Ill-feeling between the Americans and Mexicans — Frequency of 
Murders — The Band First Seen at Hacalitas — Up Dry Creek 
— At Rancheria — To Drytown — A Second Time to Rancheria 
— Slaughter — Departure of the Robbers — Excitement the 
Next Day — Immense Gathering — Trial and Hanging of the 
Mexicans — Death of Roberts — Borquitas — Rresence ot County 
Officers — Pursuit of the Murderers — Hunt Around Bear 
Mountain — The Murderers Overtaken — Death of Phoenix — 
Expulsion and Disarming of Mexican Population — Outrages 
at Drytown — Burning of the Church — Mass Meeting at 
Jackson — Review After a Lapse of a Quarter of a Century. 

This affair happened something over a quarter of 
a century since. Many of the witnesses are dead, 
others are gone, and many have forgotten some of 
the important matters. Those who are accustomed 
to criminal trials, know how contradictory testi- 
mony may be among candid, truth-telling men, even 
while the events are fresh in the mind. How much 
more difficult then to get at the truth when a quarter 
of a century has rolled over the events, inevitably 
obliterating much that would be necessary to form 
a rational opinion of the murders, and the resulting 
events of the following month. A somewhat retro- 
spective view of the relations between the Mexican 
population and our own, seems necessary, to get a 
correct view of the situation. 

There never was a good feeling between the 
native population and the Americans. The indolent 
native, fond of his siesta and cigarette, proud of the 
smallest quantity of Castilian blood, and holding 
in utter abhorrence laborious occupations, had, at 
first, contempt, and then hatred, for the wild Ameri- 
canos, or Gringos (green-horns), as the Americans 
were termed, who seemed to be endowed with an 
infernal energy that tore up all the ordinary routine 
of life, and made men almost maniacs, in the search 
for wealth. 

This feeling was older than the war in which Cal- 

ifornia was conquered. Years before that Alexander 
Forbes, an Englishman, now a resident of Oakland, 
who wrote the " History of California," as early as 
1835, speaks of occasional parties of Americans who 
came from the frontiers of the United States, whom 
no danger could appall and no difficulty deter; who 
would be likely in time to take California and hold 
it as they had taken Texas, if some foreign power 
did not step in and forestall them. At the time of 
the war, there were some two hundred Americans 
who had ofton made their power felt. Isaac Graham, 
with some fifty or sixty men, had taken possession 
of the Capital (Monterey), and made Juan B. Alva- 
rado, Governor. They were always in a quasi 
rebellion. Fremont with his battalion, had gone in 
force through the country, stubbornly refusing to 
be whipped. The Mexican Government had an 
article inserted in the treaty, that the rights of the 
Mexicans to their property in California should be 
respected. But this did not prevent the Americans, 
on the discovery of gold, from taking possession of 
the best lands, and parceling them out into farms 
and cultivating them. The native owner was wont 
to consider himself lucky if he could save even his 
houses and his herds. The latter, the Americans 
would drive off and slaughter by the thousand, with 
hardly a pretense of secrecy. In this way the herds 
of nearly all the old dons were exterminated. The 
titles to their lands were scarcely ever recognized 
until they had passed into the hands of the Amer-"' 
icans. In the gold mines, they were treated as 
intruders, and the discovery of a placer was sure to 
bring a swarm of men about, who believed in 
" Americans ruling America." This ill-feeling often 
culminated in murder and robbery. Particular 
roads frequented by parties of Mexicans, were found 
to be dangerous to travel. Several persons had been 
murdered on the road between Drytown and 
Cosumnes. Murderer's gulch, north of the town, had 
witnessed several murders, which, as the people 
believed, had been traced to the native population. 
Several attempts had been made to banish them from 
the country, but when driven from one camp they 
would go to another. As the miners were roving 
about and the population changing, the expulsion 
was soon forgotten, and the natives would return 
embittered and sullen. Joaquin's raids through the 
country had not been forgotten, and when the news 
of the slaughter of six or seven persons at Rancheria 
had spread over the county, it is not strange that 
the community should be terribly excited, and should 
be moved to deeds which were afterwards looked 
upon with regret. 

The murders were committed by twelve men, one 
of whom seemed to be white, and one a black man, 
the rest appearing to be of the ordinary Mexican type. 
Some of these were men of education, others had 
been vaqueros in the valleys; and all perhaps felt 
that they had some grievance to avenge, for we 
cannot account for their subsequent career on any 



other hypothesis. They were first heard from at 
Hacalitas (hard camp) not far from the Q ranch, 
on the night of the 5th of August, 1855, where they 
stayed all night. 

The following morning, Monday, August Gth, they 
left the camp and made their way towards Drytown, 
first robbing a China camp, leaving the Chinamen tied. 
They passed some white men without disturbing 
them, however. It happened that George Durham, 
foreign tax collector, had started on much the same 
route and found that all the China camps from there 
to Rancheria had been robbed. He got a very good 
description of the numbers and appearance of the 
men, and found that they had been at Rancheria at 
Francis' store; also saw their camp just out of the 
town. He warned Francis against the men, saying 
that he thought they were the same men who had 
recently committed some depredations at Tuttle's 
store in Tuolumne county, and told Francis that he 
was in danger of being robbed. Durham then went 
towards Drytown, passing their camp. There 
seemed to be some difficulty among them, as two 
were well stripped apparently to fight, but were 
quieted by a tall, slender man, who seemed to be 
recognized as a chief. Two of the party followed 
Durham as if to attack him, but turned back after 
going a short distance. At Drytown, Durham en- 
gaged Cross, the constable, to assist in collecting the 
tax from the Chinamen at Milton's ranch, as they had 
''dodged him before when he went alone. They got 
back to Drytown about dark, and went into Mizen- 
er's store. While there Judge Curtis came in and said 
that a Spanish woman had come to his office and 
told him that the town was full of robbers; that she 
was afraid that they were all going to be robbed. 
The description of the party corresponded with the 
party which had been seen at Rancheria, and Cross 
and Durham resolved to visit the place on Chile flat 
where the robbers were taking supper. On coming 
to the house, they had left, but were found a short 
distance to the rear. Both parties, as they met, 
commenced firing, some thirty or forty shots being 
exchanged. The Mexicans were on an elevation, 
and Durham and Cross were in a depression; these 
circumstances as well as the darkness prevented any 
fatal results, one person only, a Mexican, being 
wounded. Both parties now withdrew, the Mexicans 
going to their camp on the hill a half mile away, and 
Durham and Cross to the American part of the town. 
It was now evident that no small job was on hand. 
Twelve desperate men thoroughly armed would take 
the town. The citizens had heard the firing and 
many of the bullets had struck the buildings, though 
without doing any damage to persons. Although 
this was in 1855, only a few years away from the 
time that the men crossed the plains each with his 
rifle in order, but few fire-arms could be found. 
When these had been gathered up, it was learned 
that the banditti had decamped and gone toward 
Rancheria. Whether it was a ruse to draw the 

armed party away from the town or not was uncer- 
tain, but it was now evident that one or both places 
was to be attacked. It was also evident that, but for 
the premature alarm, Drytown would have been the 
first victim, and probably Rancheria afterwards. 
Two persons, Robert Cosner being one, volunteered 
to go to Rancheria to inform them of the danger. 
They avoided the road, going up Rattlesnake gulch; 
but while the party were discussing the matter the 
Mexicans had done the work. On the arrival of Cos- 
ner and , the robbers appeared to be leaving the 

town on the opposite side. There were no lights and 
a dreadful silence prevailed. They called aloud sev- 
eral times before they heard any reply. David Wil- 
son was found hiding in a ditch; when he heard 
their voices he said: " My God! The whole town is 
slaughtered; my brother Sam is killed, and I don't 
know how many more." At Francis' store they 
found Dan Hutchinson, his clerk, dead behind the 

counter, also Sam "Wilson and . Francis was 

missing but was found not far away with both legs 
broken and several severe wounds, but still alive! It 
seemed that he had fought them to the last and 
eventually ran out of the back door on the stumps 
of his legs. While searching for Francis they found 
the dead body of an Indian. The safe was blown 
open and the contents, about twenty thousand dol- 
lars, abstracted. AtDynan's Hotel they found Mrs. 
Dynan dead, shot thi-ough the body, and Dynan 
wounded. Mrs. Dynan seemed to have been shot 
while putting her child out of the window. Francis 
died the next day. One leg was amputated and the 
other set with the hope of saving his life. After 
death it was discovered that his back bone was 
nearly severed, apparently by a blow from an axe. 
Altogether there were six men, one woman and an 
Indian killed and two men wounded. It seemed that 
the party divided, a part going to each house, com- 
mencing the attack at about the same moment. At 
Dynan's a party were playing cards when the house 
was attacked. Dynan escaped up stairs and through 
the windows. A man by the name of Foster, the 
simpleton of the party, had wit enough to throw 
himself under the table and remain there until the 
trouble was over and thus saved his life. 


The news rapidly spread. By nine the next morn- 
ing perhaps five hundred people were present. The 
atrocious character of the murders, the unprovoked 
and causeless attack, raised the anger of the mass of 
the people almost beyond control. Some were for an 
immediate war on all of the Mexican race. Parties 
were engaged in arresting and bringing in all in the 
vicinity. It is difficult now to ascertain whether any 
trial was held or not. There was no organization of 
the crowd which was continually coming and going. 
A few elderly men, among whom may be mentioned 
two Hinksons, acted as a sort of jury, to give a form 
of delibex-ation to the affair. Judge Curtis is said 

Ranch, Residence and Business Place of S.W.EMMONS, "*"' 
Pine Grove, Amador C°Cal. 

'. BRITTON ft ACT. t. f. 



also to have taken part in the proceedings. These 
men were noted for their moderation and prudence. 
They probably prevented the crowd from doing 
much worse than it did. " Let us proceed cau- 
tiously; let us be just; let us hang no innocent men," 
said they. They were men in whom the people had 
confidence. Some thirty-five men were brought 
within the rope circle and guarded. A motion was 
put to hang the whole of them, all but a few voting 
for it. They were then asked to give the men a 
trial. This was reluctantly consented to; and a com- 
mittee — it could not be called a jury — set themselves 
to ascertain the evidence against the men. All that 
could be found was that James Johnson, a miner 
who lived in a cabin near by, and looked out through 
a crack in the door when the shooting was going on, 
thought he heard a Mexican, called Port Wine (because 
he was always drunk, or nearly so, on port), shout- 
ing for Mexico. Another one had placed a light in 
the road in front of his house. The third one was 
seen running around with the banditti during the 
shooting. This was on the testimony of one man 
who thought he saw it through a slight opening of his 
cabin door. The committee reported that this was 
all that could be found against any of them. It was 
determined to hang them immediately. Port Wine 
was a half-witted man, almost incapable of commit- 
ting a ci'ime. He cried and begged, to no purpose; 
he was hung while his wife was begging for him, 
two others being hung at the same time. The jury, 
whose names it is impossible to learn, must not be 
blamed in this matter. It is impossible to tell what 
any one would do until they arc tried. Hundreds of 
exasperated people were clamoring for the death of 
somebody. It is likely that the hanging of the three 
appeased, to some extent, the thirst for vengeance. 
William O. Clark, a well-known citizen of Drytown, 
made a speech advocating a trial by law, by the 
Courts, and made an appeal to the people to place 
themselves, in imagination, in a foreign country, and 
about to be hung for a crime some of their own 
countrymen had committed; but the people were in 
no mood to hear finely constructed sentences, and 
he was silenced. It was even proposed to hang him 
for being friendly to the Mexicans. A Mrs. Ketchum 
was particularly active in creating a sentiment 
against Clark. The balance of the party arrested 
were liberated on condition of leaving the camp 
within four hours. 


About this time a terrible accident occurred. A 
man by the name of Roberts, or Robinson, who had 
been one of the most violent in demanding a whole- 
sale hanging, shot himself in the breast, dying imme- 
diately. There are so many conflicting reports that 
it is with reluctance the subject is mentioned. One 
person says they were about to go home, and Rob- 
erts was taking the gun towards him, neither angry 
nor intoxicated, when it went off, striking him in 

the breast. Another one says that Robinson — or 
Roberts — was violently demanding the death of 
another prisoner, which was not immediately 
assented to, whereupon he said he would settle the 
question himself, snatching up the gun with the 
result heretofore stated. 


William Sutherland, whose veracity no one will 
question, relates the following circumstances in 
regard to it: A young Spaniard by the name of 
Borquitas, General Castro's business agent, happened 
to be visiting Sutherland's at the time of the mur- 
ders Being a well educated man, speaking the 
English language fluently, he remarked that he 
might be of assistance in ferreting out the criminals, 
and would go up to Rancheria. When he got there, 
he found himself one of the criminals, or, at least, 
he was reckoned among the criminal class. During 
the affair, trial it could not be called, he conversed 
with one of the accused. Becoming convinced of 
the innocence of the party of any complicity in the 
murders, he told the people so; whereupon, it was 
proposed to hang him (Borquitas) also. It was 
then that Roberts undertook to shoot him, with the 
result of death to himself. Sutherland then told 
Borquitas that he could do no good by staying and 
risking his own life; that he had better leave. Tak- 
ing the advice of Sutherland, he left in the con- 
fusion, caused by the death of Roberts. 

It is said that Judge Gordon, S. B. Axtell, District 
Attorney, Judge Hubbard, and others, were present; 
but as the hanging took place before noon, and the 
Court met at ten, as usual, on the morning after the 
murders, it is almost impossible that they should 
have witnessed the hanging, though they pi*obably 
were present dui'ing the afternoon. 

Port Wine had a good claim, which was considered 
forfeited at his death, James Robinson, on whose 
testimony he was hung, taking possession of it the 
same evening. He worked it for a few days, but 
finding work a burden, he sold it for two hundred 
dollars, which he spent in a week's spree, shortly 


Phoenix, and some of his deputies, visited the 
scene of the disturbance, in the early morning. 
After looking at the mutilated bodies, he merely 
said, " Follow me." A party was immediately organ- 
ized to pursue the banditti, which, as before stated, 
left Rancheria, taking the road towards El Dorado 
county. This proved to be a false scent. They 
went as far as Indian Diggings, and, finding them- 
selves off the trail, returned to Jackson. There they 
learned that the gang had crossed the Mokelumne 
at Diamond bar. Phoenix, Cross, Perrin, Sherry, 
Eichelberger, and Durham, went to Mokelumne 
Hill that night. They there learned that Sheriff 
Clark, Paul McCormick, and six-fingered Smith of 
Camp Seco, had attacked the murderers at Texas 



bar, on the Calaveras, and had wounded and cap- 
lured ono of the party, who had bold the history 
and names of the others. His name was Manuel 
Garcia, and he had been a vaquero for Charles 
Stone, at Bucna Vista. lie was sent to Jackson 
with Eichelberger and Perrin. The crowd had 
assembled to receive him; parting to the right and 
left, and closing up after him, they escorted the 
prisoner to the tree, which was already provided 
with a noose. When his head was placed in it, the 
buggy was moved along, and the body left dangling. 
This was the eighth time the tree had borne its fruit. 

It was now ascertained that the balance of the 
party were concealed around Bear mountain. Two 
days spent in hunting failed to find them; and then 
the officers went to Jenny Lind where they learned 
that the Mexicans were camped near Reynold's 
ferry on the Stanislaus. A large number of Mex- 
icans at Jenny Lind were disarmed, to prevent 
any assistance reaching the banditti from that settle- 
ment, and the pursuit continued, but somebody had 
given notice of the approach of the officers and 
the party had left going towards the Tuolumne 
river. A guard was set at Reynold's ferry, but the 
robbers did not attempt to cross. The next day the 
officers visited Tuttletown, Sonora, Campo Seco, and 
Jamestown. At the latter place they again struck 
the trail, and found some of the horses, which had 
been stolen at Rancheria, dying of exhaustion. 

The reader will bear in mind that the ground at 
this season of the year (August) is hard as a rock, 
receiving scarcely any impression from a hoof or 
a shoe passing along; and besides the Mexicans 
traveled in the night time, concealing themselves in 
the thick chaparral, with ""which the hills around 
Bear mountain abound during the day, so that 
closely following the trail was out of the question; 
but it was now evident that they were nearing the 
objects of their search. Chinese Camp and a Mexican 
camp, at what is called Old Chinese Camp, were 
visited. At the latter place was a large dance-house 
near the hills, the thick chaparral coming down close 
to the house. It was out of the question to get any 
correct information with regard to the party they 
were in search of, but they concluded to stop awhile 
and watch events. Drinks around and the usual 
hospitalities followed, as a matter of course. While 
some of the party engaged the senoritas in conver- 
sation, others kept a general lookout. A girl at the 
door was seen making signals to some one in the 
rear, as if to go away. Durham sprang to the door, 
and saw some of the men they were in search of. 
Phoenix was anxious to capture them alive, and to 
this reluctance to kill them, was due the fatal result; 
but shooting commenced at once. It is difficult to 
recall events in their order, in which two or three 
seconds make a failure or success of a movement; 
but in the affray Phoenix was the first to fall; his 
slayer the next — the latter though severely wounded, 
still kept fighting, being finally dispatched by a blow 

on the head with an axe. The party dispersed in a 
short time, the officers holding the ground. A boy, 
who had witnessed the affair from a distance, told 
the officers that he had seen a wounded man crawl 
into a cloth shanty, Mood stains indicating the cor- 
rectness of the statement. The man was told to 
come out, but as no answer was received, the hut 
was set on fire, as it was deemed dangerous to follow 
him in. Not until it was blazing all over, so that it 
was thought impossible for any living being to be 
there, did he appear. He rushed out, covered with 
blood, clothes and hair on fire, with a pistol in each 
hand, shooting as he came. He was more frightful 
than dangerous, and was soon quieted. Phoenix 
was shot through the heart, dying immediately. He 
was buried by the Masonic order at Sonora. He was, 
perhaps, thirty years old, of social character, open- 
hearted, holding malice towards none, and was 
universally esteemed. He was in poor health at the 
time, hardly fit for such an enterprise, as he took 
upon himself to lead. On his return from the 
unsuccessful search in El Dorado, he was urged to 
rest; was told that, considering the disturbed con- 
dition of the county, his presence was needful — which 
was true. But he replied that if he should decline 
pursuing the murderers, his courage would be called 
in question, and he stai'ted the same evening. His 
attempt to capture the men alive, was a fatal mis- 
take. It was no kindness to the party, for, in the 
excited condition of the people, every one taken was 
sure to be hung without a trial. 

This affair occurred Sunday evening, August 12, 

A day or two after these occurrences, Marshall 
Wood, of the town of Columbia, telegraphed the 
party that he had arrested forty or more Spaniards, 
and thought that some of the men they were in 
search of, were among them. On visiting Sonora, 
Durham recognized one of the party, a well-dressed, 
educated, young man, who had formerly lived at 
Dry town. At first, he understood no English, knew 
nothing about the matter, but upon being called by 
name, Manuel Escobar, and being told that Garcia, 
the one taken at Camp Seco, had given the names of 
the whole party, he commenced cursing in good 
English, and did not deny his connection with the 
murders. He was taken to Jackson, and hung, being 
the tenth and last hung on the famous tree. A 
photograph was taken of the scene, and the picture 
lithographed, some copies of which are still pre- 
served by the people of Jackson. 

Shortly after this, an old Mexican from Algerine 
Camp, told the officers that the man who had 
killed Phoenix, came to his house wounded in sev- 
eral places, he thought fatally, wanting to be taken 
care of; that he did not wish to harbor him, as he 
thought that the Americans would kill him if they 
found it out, and so told the wounded man, who, 
however, threatened to kill him. if he refused assist- 
ance. The old Mexican had put him down a shaft 



which had a short tunnel connected with it, in which 
the wounded man was hiding. Durham and his party- 
visited the place, and called upon the man to come 
out; receiving no answer, some brush was thrown 
into the shaft and set on fire, shortly after which 
the report of a pistol was heard. He had shot him- 
self rather than surrender. When the fire had gone 
out, he was brought out dead. He was shot in five 
places around the neck, and could hardly have recov- 
ered under any circumstances. 


The excitement all through the county was such 
that business was nearly suspended. Extravagant 
rumors of the intention of the Mexican population 
to rise and take the county, got into circulation. The 
same excitability that demanded the hanging of a 
whole nationality, formed a good material to float 
impossible stories of an insurrection. The second 
day after the murders, a great number of people 
came around Rancheria. The Mexicans had left the 
day of the hanging. It is said that some of the 
wives and friends of the executed had hardly time to 
bury the dead. When the crowd came the second 
day they destroyed all the hats and houses belong- 
ing to the Mexicans. It was then resolved that they 
should leave the country. A large body of those 
that had been expelled from Rancheria were en- 
camped in Mile gulch, which runs north into Dry 
creek, its head being near the town. Thither the 
party proceeded. An indiscriminate shooting com- 
menced. Some Indians, who seemed to be watching 
the Spanish, were told to kill all they could. Some 
were known to be killed — it is hoped, however, not 
as many as were reported — but the whole people 
left as rapidly as they could. One Mexican was seen 
packing two trunks on each side of a donkey. The 
overloaded animal could not keep up and he was 
obliged to abandon them. They were broken open 
and found to be filled with shirts and finery, appar- 
ently goods plundered from Francis' store. The 
Indians drew these on, one over another, until they 
would have on five or six each. This prevented the 
Indians from killing many of the fugitives, though 
when questioned about it afterwards, they said they 
had killed ocho, meaning eight. Some were found 
dead in holes and shafts, others at springs, where 
they had dragged themselves after being wounded. 
Several persons say they have seen the hogs devour- 
ing the bodies of the slain. Pork was at a discount 
during the season, on that account. At Sutter 
Creek an extravagant rumor got into circulation that 
five hundred men were coming to take the town. A 
committee of safety was organized, and some fifty or 
6ixty Mexicans who were mining on Gopher flat, 
were arrested and brought to town. One man was 
unfortunate enough to have some connection, in some 
way, with the Rancheria affair. He was traced into 
the Mexican camp and a thorough search made for 

him. It was about to be abandoned when a large 
pile of clothes, just ironed, lying on a bed, attracted 
attention. Underneath was found the man. He was 
dragged out and hung on a gibbet made by lashing 
wagon-tongues together, forming an A, the wagons 
being locked to prevent separation. The fifty on 
Gopher Flat were ordered to leave, which they con- 
sented to do provided an escort was given them, for 
they dared not leave the town disarmed and alone. 
They were escorted across the Mokelumne river. At 
that time nearly the whole of the street below the 
bridge, was occupied by the Mexican population. 
They were ordered to leave and senoras and seiioritas, 
as well as the children (of which there was a con- 
siderable number), were seen climbing the hills on 
their way out of the town. At Hacalitas, the camp 
where the banditti stayed the Sunday night previous 
to the outrage, the people were disarmed and ordered 
to leave. One white man was left to make out the 
passports, the others leaving for a similar duty at 
another camp. The Mexicans at Hacalitas pleaded 
utter ignorance of any knowledge or participation 
in the operations of the murderers, but went without 
making any resistance. A company from Drytown 
went towards El Dorado county, disarming and driv- 
ing all the Mexicans away. Men came back with 
numbers of revolvers and other arms taken from 


There were but few Mexicans at Drytown, the 
Spanish population being mostly Chilenos; hence, 
the name Chile Flat, the portion of the town where 
they lived. Though speaking the same language, 
the Chilenos and Mexicans had very little to do 
with each other; and, consequently, the Chilenos 
were not charged with any complicity in the out- 
rages at Rancheria, and were generally living on 
good terms with the people of Drytown. 

On the following Sunday, about dark, some fifteen 
or twenty men on horseback, came into Drytown, 
and set fire to the Chilenian part of it, and in a few 
minutes the whole was in a blaze. The people, 
most of whom were poor, some being women and 
children, ran in dismay to some of their friends, 
among the Americans. It is said that William O. 
Clark's house was filled with crying women and 
children, who had fled from their burning homes. 
One man, by the name of Williston, usually called 
Boston, from his native city, set fire to the Catholic 
church, which was soon in ashes. The persons 
engaged in this evening's work, seemed to have had 
all their plans laid before coming into town, appar- 
ently consulted no one, and permitting no interfer- 
ence. Some of the citizens of Drytown have been 
charged with assisting the rioters, but a thorough 
investigation fails to connect any one of its citizens 
with the affair, which was generally condemned as 
cruel and wanton. 




A meeting was called to consider the propriety 
of outlawing all of the Mexican population. Sorrrc 
of the more violent approved of the measure, but 
the hanging of the men at Jackson and Rancheria, 
the excesses committed at Mile gulch and vicinity, 
had caused the more thoughtful to doubt the pro- 
priety or necessity of turning all the blood-thirsty 
loose, with license to kill Mexicans wherever they 
could be found, for such would be the result of out- 
lawry. R. M. Briggs, especially, violently opposed 
the measure, and it was abandoned. Most of the 
Mexicans had left the county, and the necessity of 
such a measure, was questionable on several grounds. 
W. O. Clark, who opposed it, perhaps in imprudent 
words, came near being lynched, his speeches at 
Rancheria, the day after the murders, being remem- 
bered. Many of the Mexicans who fled the county 
on that occasion, settled near Jenny Lind, in Cala- 
veras county, where they have made peaceable and 
quiet citizens. 


There are few, and the number is few, who helped 
to vindicate justice, as they term it, who are proud 
of the part they took in the matter. But the more 
thoughtful look at it as one full of excesses to be re- 
gretted. There are many who believe that the three 
persons hung at Rancheria the day following the out- 
rage were entirely innocent of any complicity in the 
crimes committed. There appeared to have been 
two classes of the Mexicans, the caballeros or horse- 
men and the peons or laboring class. The first were 
accustomed here, as they were in Mexico, to help 
themselves to whatever they wanted of the -peons, 
who occupied much of the former position of the 
blacks in the Southern States, having no rights which 
a caballero was bound to respect. It is said that when- 
ever these gentry were known to be in a Mexican 
camp, or expected, the lights were blown out and 
everything kept as quiet as possible so as to at- 
tract no attention. Old residents say that though 
a Mexican with a crowbar and bataya might steal 
an axe or a piece of meat, he was never known 
to commit an outrage. The fact that half a dozen 
white, men would go to a Mexican camp of ten times 
their number and disarm them does not prove them 
very belligerent. It would seem that most of the 
crimes, and they were many, committed by the Mex- 
ican population may be justly charged to the cabal- 
leros. who were generally gamblers and horse-thieves, 
or worse; who never worked for themselves but 
appropriated the results of others' industry, not hes- 
itating at murder when necessary to accomplish their 

c li a PT ER X X. 


Success of the American Party — List of Officers Elected — 
Rivalry Between Towns — Financial Matters — Efforts to 
Suppress Gambling — Political Parties in 185G — Names of 
Officers Elected — Calaveras Indebtedness — Tax Levy in 1857 
— Disbursements for 1857 — Table of Receipts for all Moneys 
up to 1857 — Political Parties in 18.57 — Officers Elected in 
1857 — Officers Elected 1858 — Tax Levy 1858 — Condition of 
Treasury — Financial Matters in 1859 — Condition of Polit- 
ical Parties. 

The Know-Nothing, or Native American Party, 
had become the most numerous of any. The almost 
annihilation of the Whig party in the Presidential 
contest of 1852, and the subsequent growth of the 
free soil element into a party, had left the Whigs to 
form new combinations. As the defeat of the Whigs 
was largely due to the solid, foreign Democratic 
vote, it is not strange that the defeated Whigs should 
organize to control or resist the foreign element. 
The epithet, " Know-Nothing," seems to have been 
first given in derision, from a constant assertion, " I 
know nothing about it," when the members were 
interrogated about the existence of such an organi- 
zation, and afterwards partially adopted, or, at 
least, quietly received by them. The object was a 
practical exclusion from power of the foreign ele- 
ment. It was urged that a few individuals often 
controlled hundreds of votes, and could be influ- 
enced by improper means; that the foreigners, as a 
rule, when they come to this country, had no knowl- 
edge of the nature of our institutions, and, from hav- 
ing been subjected to unjust laws in Europe, were 
instinctively opposed to all wholesome restraints; 
that the percentage of crimes and misdemeanors 
committed by the foreign element was much greater 
than their percentage of the population. The meet- 
ings, at first, wei-e held secretly, and nearly all the 
members of the Whig party, as well as many Dem- 
ocrats, were induced to act with them, so that until 
the day of the election, few men, not belonging to 
it, were aware of the extent of the organization, 
and were surprised to find the new party in posses- 
sion of nearly all the offices, from the Governor 
down. When the election was over, and conceal- 
ment no longer necessary, the members showed 
themselves in processions and public meetings. 


While Volcano was making some pretensions to 
superior size, the Sentinel at Jackson published, as 
amusing matter, the experience of a Jackson man 
in Volcano; the latter town being represented as so 
poverty-stricken, that a five-dollar piece had not 
been seen for weeks. When our Jackson friend was 
transacting some little business, he accidentally dis- 
played a ten-dollar piece. The sight was so unusual 
that a crowd immediately gathered around to 
admire and wonder. He good-naturedly allowed 
them to view and handle it, after which he treated, 
paid his bill, and left. The Sentinel made quite an 
amusing article of it; but the Volcano man was to 




R.S-Hinksdn 8. Bro. ProP§ Volca no. Ama d or C° Gal, 


A. Petty, Prop., Volcano, Amador C° Cal. 

UTff.SA/rrOff & R£Y. B.F 



have his turn now. He acknowledged the story as 
true in most of the statements. " It was astonish- 
ing that a man coming from Jackson should have ten 
dollars, and still more unusual for a Jackson man to 
treat; but when he paid his bill before leaving, the 
astonishment of the people exceeded all bounds; 
they were still talking about it." 


Members of the Assembly — J. T. Farley, G. W. 
Public Administrator — Wm. Jennings. 
School Commissioner — J. Goodin. 
County Surveyor — David Armstrong. 


Township No. 1 — Bruce Husband, Hugh Robin- 

Township No. 2— J. W. D. Palmer, N. C. F. Lane. 

Township No. 3 — Ceo. L. Gale, N. Harding. 

Township No. 4— E. B. Howe, W. C. Bryant. 

Township No. 5— J. B. King, W. B. Caswell. 

Township No. 6 — E. R. Yates, James Burt. 

E. B. Howe and E. R. Yates were elected Associate 
Justices to act with M. W. Gordon. 


Jan. 1, 1855, the total amount of warrants 

issued since Sept ]4, 1854, was $41,144.78 

Warrants redeemed during same time .... 
Total amount outstanding. 


Amount on hand $6, 117.07 

The second assessment for taxes was as follows: 

On personal and real property for county purposes, 
on each $100 , 50c. 

For school purposes, on each $100 10c. 

Support of indigent sick, " " 10c. 

Roads and highways, " " 2c. 

State purposes " " 60c— $1.32 

Poll-tax. 3.00 

On January 1, 1856, the Supervisors made the fol- 
lowing report: — 

Jan. 1, 1855, cash on hand $6,117.07 

Received during the year on account of prop- 
erty tax 3,068.24 

On account of poll tax 2,270.90 

Foreign miners' licenses 10,309.68 

County licenses 13,258.75 

Fees from Probate Court 61.50 

Sale of county property 120.00 

Refunded from State treasury 182. IS 

Total receipts for 1855 $35,957.67 

Total disbursements for 1855 34,741.10 

Balance on hand Jan. 1, 1856. 
Total amount of warrants issued 

Sept. 14, 1S54, to present 

Amount redeemed 

Outstanding . 





At the February term, 1856, the Grand Jury made 

some effort to suppress gambling. Up to this date 

monte, faro, and other games were openly dealt in 

many places in the county, demoralizing a great 

many men. Laws against banking games had been 

passed a year or two previous, but it was thought to 

be impossible to enforce them in the mountain towns. 
All laws are inoperative until sanctioned by public 
opinion; in this instance only a movement was 
needed to show that public gambling was not coun- 
tenanced by the community at large. The names of 
the Grand Jury that first grappled with this evil are 
S. G. Hand, who acted as foreman, John Lean, Thos. 
Luther, Elias Kratzer, Z. Crane, Wm. Cochran, Wm. 
Goode, David Beach, A. P. Clough, Samuel Folger, 
Heman Allen, Ellis Evans, Thomas Skidmore, 
Luther Morgan, Wm. Glenn, D. B. French, B. Dav- 
enport, J. H. Young, D. W. Aldrich, E. W. Rice, and 
S. M. Streeter. Several indictments were found 
against persons for gaming, also against the own- 
ers of houses permitting it. Though gambling never 
was entirely suppressed it was forced to retire from 
public sight. 


Three parties made their appearance this season: 
The Democratic party, confident in strength from a 
sway of nearly a quarter of a century; the Know- 
Nothing, flushed with a recent victory; and the 
Republican, having nothing, with everything to hope 
for. The fact that the Republicans had carried sev- 
eral Eastern States with rapid increase of numbers 
everywhere, encouraged them to nominate a full 
county ticket. They first called a general meeting 
at Drytown on the 4th of October, met in mass meet- 
ing numbering about seventy-five, and nominated a 
full ticket. Col. Baker addressed the meeting in 
the evening and spoke afterwards at several places 
in the county. Some little disposition to mob out the 
Republicans was manifested in several places. At 
Yolcano the sign of the Republican club was torn 
down and destroyed and a notice served on Mahoney, 
the owner of the hall, that if the meetings were per- 
mitted his hall should be torn down. Leading Dem- 
ocrats hastened to disavow any countenance of the 
violent proceedings and assured the Republicans 
that they should not be molested again. At Lancha 
Plana, M. Frink, a candidate for the Assembly, was 
torn from the stand, though this was said to have 
been in consequence of remarks of a personal nature. 
The fact that mobbing a speaker, however obnoxious 
his sentiments are, is an argument generally in his 
favor, is well known and serves to keep the appear- 
ance of peace at least. 

The Know-Nothings held an imposing convention. 
J. T. Farley, flushed with the honors of Speaker of 
the Assembly, acted as president. A huge cannon 
was fired at intervals of a few minutes through the 
day, reminding the people for twenty miles around 
that the Know-Nothing Convention was in session. 

The Democratic ticket was elected, the Republi- 
cans casting a little over six hundred votes, or about 
one-sixth part of the entire vote. 

The vote for President was: Buchanan (Dem.), 
1784; Fillmore (K. N.), 1557; Fremont (Rep.), 657. 




Assemblymen — Wm. M. Soawell, James Livermorc. 

Sheriff— W. J. Paugh. 

County Clerk— II. S. Hatch. 

District Attorney — S. B. Axtell. 

Treasurer — Ellis Evans. 

Assossor — II. A. Eichelberger. 

Public Administrator — J. B. King. 

County Surveyor — James Masterson. 

Coronor — A. B. Kibbe. 


District No. 1 — J. G. Severance. 

District No. 2 — E. A. Kingsley 

District No. 3 — -J. A. Brown. 

Superintendent Common Schools — E.B. Mclntyre. 


Township No. 1 — L. N. Ketchum, Bruce Husband. 
Township No. 2— N. C. F. Lane, J. W. D. Palmer. 
Township No. 3 — A. M. Ballard, Geo. Monkton. 
Township No. 4 — E. B. Mclntyre, D. R. Gans. 
Township No. 5 — C. N. W. Hinkson, G. W. Haynes. 
Township No. 6 — Stephen Kendall, I. F. Ostrom. 


When Amador was set off from Calaveras a pro- 
vision was made that the new county should assume 
a just proportion of the common debt. As no 
especial methods of determining this amount was 
provided, the matter was neglected until Calaveras 
brought suit, January 27, 1857, against J. C. Ship- 
man, as Auditor of Amador county, to recognize the 
obligation. James H. Hardy was employed as a 
lawyer to defend Amador county, and was allowed 
one thousand dollars as a fee for his services. Feb- 
ruary 3d there is a minute to the effect that the 
Board adjourned to meet the Board of Calaveras 
county to effect an amicable arrangement. The 
records of the Board of Supervisors do not make 
mention of the matter again until the 7th of August 
following, when Alonzo Piatt and James F. Hubbard 
were appointed as a Commission to meet an equal 
number on the part of Calaveras county, to deter- 
mine the amount of the indebtedness. This confer- 
ence resulted in fixing the amount at twenty-six 
thousand five hundred and seventeen dollars and 
thirty-two cents. A warrant was issued for this 
amount, and, as Number 103, became famous in the 
financial history of the county as the source of eva- 
sions, injunctions and lawsuits. 

The Board of Supervisors ordered that one-half 
of the general fund should be set aside for the pay- 
ment of this warrant. From the records, it appears 
that an arrangement had been made with the Cala- 
veras authorities, that evidence of Calaveras indebt- 
edness, or " county scrip," might be applied in pay- 
ment of this debt. George Durham was appointed 
a broker, to buy up the scrip, sixty-five cents on the 
dollar being the price he was to be paid for it, " and 
no more." One thousand dollars was advanced to 

him, as capital to begin with, and directions made 
that ho should settle as often as once a month. J. 
C. Shipman, Alvinza Hayward, John C. White, Will- 
iam Sharp, ami Wesley Jackson, were his sureties 
for the faithful performance of the duties. It is to 
be regretted that the records of the Board of Super- 
visors are not more complete. The high price of 
ink, or some other freak of economj^, kept them 
from keeping a full account, and wo are obliged to 
write history out of hints and disjointed memoranda. 
The purchase of scrip does not seem to have been 
satisfactory, for suit was commenced against Dur- 
ham on account of the matter. There is a minute 
to the effect that the District Attorney be directed 
to suspend the suit against Durham, as long as M. 
W. Gordon should pay to the County Treasurer fifty 
dollars a month; that the stay of proceedings should 
cease whenever the said M. W. Gordon should neg- 
lect or refuse to pay the fifty dollars per month. 

TAX LEVY OF 1857. 

For county purposes, on each $100 50c. 

School purposes, " " 10c. 

Indigent sick, " " 20c. 

Calaveras Fund, " " 30c. 

State taxes, " " 70c— $1.80 

A poll-tax of $3.00 was ordered on account of roads, and the 
same also for State and county purposes. 

January 1, 1858, the Supervisors made the fol- 
lowing report: — 

Warrants issued during the year exclusive of the 

famous 103 for Calaveras indebtedness was $42,457.27 

Outstanding for previous year " 103,49 

Warrants redeemed during the time $35,078.40 

Warrants outstanding $ 7,482.36 


Including Calaveras indebtedness - . .$33,999.68 

Inventory of county property. 

Delinquent taxes $ 5,881.40 

County jail and improvements 7,017.80 

*Court House and lot improvements 2,379.10 

Furniture of clerk's office 400.00 

Sheriff's and other offices. 270.00 

County hospital 200.00 

Total $16,148.30 

September 18, 1857, the Supervisors ordered the 
Treasurer to make no payment at all to S. L. McGee, 
the holder of warrant No. 103, drawn on account of 
the Calaveras indebtedness. From this item it 
would appear that McGee had become the owner of 
the warrant, and refused to take script on it. 

The funds set aside for the payment of this war- 
rant accumulated until they amounted, in January, 
1859, to $20,198.27, less $605.00, which had been 
allowed the outgoing Treasurer as percentage. 

This concatenation of awkward events was inau- 
gurated by J. G. Severance, E. A. Kingsley, and 
James A. Brown, acting as the Board of Supervisors. 

*The Court House having been donated by the town of Jack- 
son, only the improvements are estimated. 



UARY 1, 1858. 

County Judge 

County Clerk and Auditor. 

District Attorney 

Associate Justices 




Justice's Fees 

Constable's Fees 

Witnesses' Fees 


Superintendent and Marshals Common Schools 


Officers of Election 

Repairs on Court House and Jail 


Scaffold and Execution of Cottle 

Attorneys' Fees in Criminal Cases 

P. M. Examinations and Taking Insane to Asylum , 

Attorneys' Fees in County Suits 

Supplies for Jail 



Taxes Refunded ■_ 



.$ 2,500 00 

. 3,104 53 

. 1,810 00 
874 00 

. 2,653 34 

. 7,406 22 

1,095 55 

624 10 

. 1,318 49 
113 50 

. 4,384 50 
5S1 00 

,. 4,336 61 
568 00 

. 1,550 92 
494 92 
100 00 
135 00 
484 30 

. 1,400 00 

275 00 

917 00 

12 25 

45 24 

224 80 

.$37,039 35 

Table Showing the Amounts of Money Received into the 
Treasury to 1857. 









§7561 90 

6946 50 

6951 36 

2671 50 

380 10 

464 40 

9 7172 02 

14061 25 

24065 72 

4138 33 

569 35 

182 18 

61 50 

120 00 

* 9054 10 

14736 25 

18248 04 

3414 12 

357 20 

1848 44 

42 00 

100 00 

1821 99 

806 25 

161 24 

408 00 

§30144 77 

14232 62 

22944 16 

9234 85 

026 20 

1372 53 

53 00 

953932 79 

State and County Licenses 

Foreign Miners' Tax 


50026 62 
72209 28 
19458 80 

1932 85 

Refunded from State 

3867 55 
156 50 

Sale of County Property. 

220 U0 

5059 62 
5020 41 

9951 66 


5826 66 

161 24 

45 00 

5841 85 

872 00 

SO 38 

453 00 

5841 85 

Bridge and Ferry Licenses 

872 00 

45 00 
$25020 7l 

63 00 

197 38 


j50370 35 

851129 93 

$95586 89 

,$222108 93 


Three tickets were put into the field as usual. 
The Democrats flushed with the recent Presidential 
victory, and strong in the possession of the public 
funds, the other two suffering from overwhelming 
defeats. B. JVI. Briggs, of the moribund Know-Noth- 
ing party, was the only one elected on that ticket 
in the county, and almost the only one in the State. 
In the Assembly, " he chewed the bitter cud of Know- 
nothingism, to the end, alone." There was little 
interest in the election outside of the scramble among 
the office-seekers. Every town had a full set of 
candidates for all the positions. 

The following list was elected: — 

State Senator — L. N. Ketchum. 

Assemblymen — E. M. Briggs, Homer King. 

County Surveyor— John E. Dicks. 

Superintendent Common Schools — E. B. Alclntyre. 


Township No. 1 — J. M. Douglass, Geo. S. Smith. 
Township No. 2— J. T. Poe, J. W. D. Palmer. 
Township No. 3 — John Doble, Geo. Monkton. 
Township No. 4 — D. E. Gans, E. B. Mnlntyre. 

Township No. 5— C. N. K. Hinkson, E B. Styles. 
Township No. G. — Steve Kendall, Hugh Bell. 
Vote for Governor— J. B. Weller (Dem.), 1619; 
G. VV. Bowie (K. N.), 997; Ed. Stanley (Eep.), 492. 


Assembly — W. VV. Cope, J. A. Eagan. 

County Judge — M. W. Gordon. 

Sheriff— W. J. Paugh. 

County Clerk— T. M. Pawling. 

District Attorney — J. G. Severance. 

Treasurer — C. A. Eagrave. 

Assessor — F. P. Smith. 

Public Administrator — E. Gallagher. 

Superintendent Common Schools — H. H. Eheese. 

Coroner — John Vogan. 

Surveyor — Albert Moore. 


District No. 1— E. D. Stiles. 
District No. 2 — Eobert Stewart. 
District No. 3— Jacob Einzee. 


Township No. 1— Geo. S. Smith, J. W. Hutchins. 
Township No. 2— C. English, J. C. Wicker. 
Township No. 3— John Doble, A. M. Ballard. 
Township No. 4— E. B. Howe, D. E. Gans. 
Township No. 5— E. B. Stiles, C. N. W. Hinkson. 
Township No. 6 — Hugh Bell, B. Nichols. 
Township No. 7 — Sam Eoree, D. Cartmill. 


For State purposes on each 
County purposes, 
School purposes, 
Indigent Sick, 
Calaveras Fund, 
Board purposes, 



" " 10c. 

" " 20c. 

" " 30c. 

" " 15c— $1.75 

Also $ 3.00 poll-tax for roads, and also the same for general pur- 


is no report found of the state of the 
finances at the end of the year. Ellis Evans, the 
County Treasurer, reports the total indebtedness at 
$24,409.43. This must have been a balance, as the 
famous warrant, No. 103, still remained with no por- 
tion paid, with accumulated interest. On the first 
of July, in his second quarterly report, he fixes the 
amount of outstanding warrants at $46,717.77. 

There was in the Treasury credited to the 

General Fund $ 1,799.02 

Hospital Fund 305.73 

RoadFund 74.84 

Calaveras Fund 14,897.45— $17,077.45 

Total indebtedness $29,640.63 

At the end of 1858 the Calaveras Fund had accu- 
mulated until it amounted to $20,198.27, which, less 
3 per cent., $605.94, Treasurer's commission, was 
turned over to the incoming Treasurer, C. A. 


Rates of taxes for State purposes on each $100 60c. 

County purposes, " " 50c. 

School purposes, " " 10c. 

Calaveras Debt, " " 20c. 

Road purposes, " " 5c. — $1.45 

Poll-tax, $3.00 for roads, and the same for general purposes. 



During the first quarter of the year there was paid on the Cal- 
averas debt (warrant 103) the sum of $19,005.50, leaving due the 
sum of $19,577.75, of which sum $9,281.05 was interest. 

On the 7th of November, Treasurer Lagrave reported the 
county debt, exclusive of warrant 103, 'at $6,644.18; Calaveras 
debt, $9,109.17; making a total of $15,753.35. 

This estimate was made after deducting moneys on hand 
which were as follows: — 

General Fund $7,168.91 

Hospital Fund $2,248.82 

School Fund 2,348.42 

Road Fund 567.72 

Calaveras Fund 3,759.40— $16,091.27 


Salary of County Judge $ 

County Clerk and Auditor 

District Attorney, salary and fees 

Associate Justices 


Sheriff fees in criminal cases $4,1S9.95 

" boarding prisoners 3,426.50 

" jailor and assistant 1,886.00- 

Supervisors per diem and mileage 

Hospital expenses and burials 

Officers of election 

Supplies for Court House and jail 


Attorneys' fees in criminal cases 


Road purposes 



Collecting county licenses extra per cent. . . . 

Deficiences in gold-dust 

Miscellaneous expenses 
















Total warrants issued $43,995.86 

The interest on the Calaveras debt had accumulated to 
$9,281.05, making the whole debt $35,798.37 before any payment 
was made thereon. 


With the close of the election of 1857, the Know- 
Nothing party ceased to be a formidable element in 
politics. The leaders, generally, having been promi- 
nent members of the defunct Whig party, now found 
little difficulty in falling into the ranks of their ancient 
foemen, the Democrats. Early in the season of 
1857, a number of prominent Know-Nothings, J. O. 
Goodwin of Yuba, and James T. Farley of Amador, 
being of the number, agreed that, in view of the 
breaking up of old parties, and the formation of new 
parties in the East, and the expressed sentiments of 
President Buchanan in regard to some of the objects 
sought by the American party, it was not necessary 
to continue the organization. Farley became a 
member of the party, working in the ranks, until, 
as he was wont to say, he had been forgiven. R. 
M. Briggs also trained with the Democrats until the 
Spring of 1861. W. W. Cope, D. W. Seaton, J. W. 
Bicknell, and others, old Whigs, also fell into 
the Democratic ranks. The Republican party was 
mostly made up of men who did not put themselves 
forward for office. A lawyer was not often to be 
found in their ranks, occasioning some trouble to 
find a suitable candidate for District Attorney. 
Hearing some Republicans lamenting the want of 
a suitable man in their ranks to run for attorney, 
D. W. Seaton remarked: "Never mind. You will 
have lawyers enough on your side when you come 
to a majority." During the first four years of the 
organization, it was in a hopeless minority, with 

few politicians or orators to meet the attacks of 
ridicule and sarcasm, always given to the hindmost 
in the race. 

With the breaking up of the Know-Nothing party, 
and the affiliation of most of the members with the 
Democratic party, came the distinction "Lecompton" 
and "Anti-Lecompton," growing out of the attempt 
of Northern and Southern men to colonize the Terri- 
tory of Kansas, and bring it in as a free or slave 
State; one wing of the Democratic party favoring, 
and the other opposing the admission of Kansas 
with the Lecompton Constitution, which established 

The vote for Governor, stood as follows: Latham 
(Democrat), 2,023; John Curry (Anti-Lecompton), 
985; Stanford (Republican), 232. 


State Senator — J. A. Eagan. 

Assemblymen — P. C. Johnson, J. H. Bowman. 

Coroner — J. C. Shepherd. 


District No. 1 — C. Y. Hammond. 


Township No. 1— J. W. Hutchins, G. S. Smith. 

Township No. 2 — Chas. English, J. A. Peters. 

Township No. 3— John Doble, S. S. Hartram. 

Township No. 4— D. R. Gans, H. Wood. 

Township No. 5— C. N. W. Hinkson, R. C. Brown. 

Township No. 6— H. Bell, B. Nichols. 

Township No. 7 — Jacob Emminger, Sam Loree. 

About this time the office of Supervisor was made of 
three years duration and the elections so arranged 
among the districts that one new member should be 
elected each year. 



County Officers — Financial Situation — Political Parties — First 
Appearance of R. Burnell — First Appearance of Tom Fitch 
— Officers Elected in 1860 — Amador Wagon Road Voted 
On — Names of Amador Mountaineers — Financial Affairs in 
1861 — Calaveras Indebtedness Denied — Enormous Profits 
of Officers — Political Parties in 1861 — The Amador Wagon 
Project Renewed — Vote on the Project, May 10, 1862 — 
Rates of Toll — Impeachment of James H. Hardy — Political 
Parties in 1S62 — Great Fire in Jackson — Petition of M. W. 
Gordon — Supervisors Order the Building of a Court House 
— Political Parties in 1 863 — French Bar Affair — Officers 
Elected in 1863 — General Vote — Political Parties in 1S64 — 
Vote of 1864 — Financial Matters — Political Parties in 1865 
— Arrest of Hall and Penry — Election Returns by Precincts, 
1865 — Seaton's Defection — Counting the Votes — Clinton 
Vote— List of Officers Elected in 1S65— Death of G. W. 
Seaton, and Election of A. H. Rose, his Successor — Finan- 
cial Matters in 1865. 

Up to this period, which seems a natural point in 
time for a review, Amador county met with unre- 
mitting prosperity. The placers were yielding 
undiminished sums; the quartz mines were begin- 
ning to show their inexhaustible treasures; agricul- 
ture had assumed a permanent and profitable 

\. ! ,'- - BsjL .;: 

RESIDENCE, RANCH »»» ORCHARD ** j. W. VI LETT, Ione Valley, Amador county, cal. 

ar.v. > 






character; schools were established, and in working 
condition; churches, and other beneficiary institu- 
tions were prosperous, proving that society was being- 
built on a healthy basis; and, last though not least, 
the county finances had been generally economically 
managed, so that, notwithstanding the inevitable 
expenses of organization and commencing a govern- 
ment, moderate taxes were sufficient to liquidate all 
expenses. According to the Assessor's report there 
were fifteen saw-mills cutting 11,500.000 feet of 
lumber per year; thirty-two quartz-mills crushing 
yearly 61,000 tons of quartz; six hundred miles of 
main canal, besides distributors; 10,000 acres of cul- 
tivated land, yielding 6,000 tons of hay, 34,800 
bushels of wheat, 46,000 of barley, 28,000 of corn, 
besides other produce. There were nearly 10,000 
head of cattle, 1,700 head of horses, 6,000 swine, 
60,000 fruit trees, and 300,000 grape vines. 

This condition of affairs would justify a hope that 
prosperity might continue; but the failure of the 
placer mines, disastrous fires, injudicious manage- 
ment of county finances, with unfortunate national 
affairs, so changed the current of events, that 
Amador came near taking her place among the 
bankrupt counties of California. 

January 1, 1860, found the following persons in 
office: — . 

District Judge — Chas. Creanor. 

County Judge — M. W. Gordon. 

District Attorney — J. G. Severance. 

County Clerk and Eecorder — T. M. Pawling. 

Sheriff— W. J. Paugh. 

Treasurer — C. A. La-Grave. 

Supervisors — District No. 1, E. D. Stiles; District 
No. 2, Eobert Stewart; District No. 3, J. Linzee. 

February 6, 1860, the Supervisors allowed J. C. 
Shipman one hundred and sixty dollars for acting as 
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for twenty days, 
also seventy-eight dollars for acting as Clerk of the 
Board of Equalization. These allowances seem but 
the entering wedge to other and more extravagant 
appropriations, which followed in the course of a 
few years. 


Tax levy for 1860, adopted February 9th. 

For State purposes, on each §100 60c. 

County " " " 50c. 

School " '' " 10c. 

Indigent Sick, «' " 20c. 

Calaveras indebtedness, on each §100 30c. 

Road Fund " " oc- $1.75 

In the following report of the indebtedness of the 
county the interest seems to have been omitted: — 

May 1, 1860— 

Warrants outstanding on General Fund. $11, 581. 44 

" Calaveras " 10,797.57— $22,379.01 
Cash on hand — ■ 

General Fund $2,990.36 

Hospital " .36 

School " 1,797.23 

Road " 19.80 

Due from Sacramento County 426.85 

Calaveras " 94.38 

State to Hospital Fund 156.6S— $ 5,485.66 

On the 7th of November previous, the Calaveras debt was 
estimated at $19,577.75, of which sum $9,281.05 was for interest. 

July 7, 1860, F. Eichling, Geo. L. Gale, and D. L 
Triplett, appointed a commission, by Board of Super, 
visors, to purchase a site for hospital grounds; which 
was done, for the price of sixteen hundred dollars. 
The erection of a suitable building on this tract 
commenced a series of debts which hung over the 
tax-payers for the next twenty years. 


Calaveras indebtedness, excluding interest $10,0S6.05 

Other " " " 12,249.51 

Total $22,335.56 

Cash on hand — 

Calaveras Fund $4,108.05 

General " 7,907.47 

Hospital " 2,575.98 

Road " 684.56 

Due from Sacramento county 2,120.00 

" Calaveras " 116.00 

Total $17,512.06 

Total debt, exclusive of interest, and less the amount in 

the treasury $,823,504 

This method of making reports was not well cal- 
culated to give the people any correct idea of the 
state of the finances. The interest on warrant 103 
alone, now amounted to twenty thousand dollars or 
more; much of it was due, having accumulated 
to upwards of ten thousand dollars before any por- 
tion of principal or interest was paid. 

The Supervisors, beginning with September 3d 
were : — 

District No. 1 — C. Y. Hammond. 

District No. 2 — E. Stewart. 

District No. 3— Geo. Mc Williams. 

The latter taking his seat September 3d, succeed- 
ing J. Linzee. 


Some of the waves raised by the political storm that 
was raging in the Eastern States began to be felt in 
California. The prospect of carrying the Presiden- 
tial election and sharing the official patronage 
induced the Bepublicans to put forth greater efforts, 
and for the first time in the history of the party, it 
looked possible to carry some of the county offices. 
The Democratic party seemed to be disintegrating, 
having divided into the Douglass and Breckenridge 
factions, while members of the old Whig party, con- 
fident in their principles, thought to rally round 
them all the conservative elements and quiet the 
storm which threatened to engulf the nation. There 
are some questions that are so positive in their 
nature as to admit of no compi'omise; all or nothing 
being the only terms of settlement. The Bepublicans 
took strong ground against the extension of slavery, 
though denying any thonght of interfering with it 
where it then existed. The Douglass Democrats 
wished to leave it to the Territories and States to 
determine for themselves Avhether slavery should or 
should not exist within their boundaries, thus exclud- 
ing the matter from Congressional action. The 
Breckenridge party contended that having been 



recognized by the Constitution us an element in the 
social compact of States, it could not bo excluded 
from the Territories either by National or Territorial 
legislation without manifest injustice to the States 
wherein slavery existed. Each party endeavored to 
prove that a true interpretation of the Constitution 
would justify the proposed measures of exclusion, rele- 
gation of the matter to the States and Territories, 
or general protection and recognition everywhere 
under the flag. Careful readers of the early history 
of the United States cannot fail to discover the ten- 
derness, evasion even,' with which the subject of 
slavery was treated. The word slavery had no 
mention in the Constitution, those opposed to it hop- 
ing that it would cease of itself; those in favor of it 
satisfied with its partial recognition. Able writers 
on political economy assert that Constitutions are 
growths of public opinion; that no constitutional 
enactments can stand long against overwhelming 
public sentiment; that the courts and government 
shape the enactment when they execute the law, and, 
that public sentiment establishes the government. 
Three large parties accused each other of trying to 
subvert the Constitution, each professing to see, in 
the success of either of the others, utter ruin and 
destruction. We shall see, as history progresses, the 
truth of the principles alluded to, for the meaning of 
the Constitution was eventually fixed at a cost of a 
million of lives and billions of money. 

First-class orators, as well as many who were 
not rated at all, traversed the country, not omitting 
Amador in their labors. Thousands of documents 
bearing on the question, were sent through the mails 
or circulated by means of committees. 

R. Burnell, afterwards conspicuous in Amador poli- 
tics, made his appearance for the first time. He was 
a lawyer by profession, from the central part of New 
York. Having accumulated considerable money by 
raising stock on the plains around Sacramento, he 
spent a Winter in the capital, took a notion to mingle 
in political affairs, and made Amador County a start- 
ing-point. He was a man of graceful presence, 
pleasing address, a fluent speaker, with a good train- 
ing in the New York school of politics, of which 
Martin Yan Buren was the best specimen and ideal, 
whose political gospel was " neither give nor take 
offense." He rapidly made his way upwards, being 
first elected to the Assembly, where he was elected 
Speaker, and afterwards two terms to the Senate. 
He was also a prominent candidate for Congress. 


This celebrated orator was sent into the country 
to try his strength of wing in the woods and chap- 
arral. Though he had spoken once or twice on the 
steamer on which he was a passenger to this State, 
and again once or twice after landing, the general 
impression was that he was speaking a piece that 
some one had written for him. His appearance was 

boyish in the extreme. His plump and rather girlish 
face, his lips with the babyish Cupid's bow still giving 
them shape, and his extremely youthful appearance, 
(not over twenty at least), did not impress one at 
first sight, or give any indication of his oratorical 
powers. The first meeting at which he appeared 
was in lone. Very few had heard of him, and it was 
supposed that the State Central Committee had sent, 
as they often had done before, some troublesome 
aspirant for oratorical honors, where he would do the 
least harm. James M. Hanford, M. W. Belshaw and 
two or three local politicians were announced to 
speak, and confident in their strength, inquired of 
Fitch which part of the evening he would prefer, and 
also how much time he would like to occupy, for it 
was intended to give the boy a chance for success. He 
rather dignifiedly answered that he would be satis- 
fied with any arrangements that might be made; so 
he was generously allowed the closing speech! After 
the several speakers had plodded wearily through 
the evening, the President introduced Thomas Fitch. 
The writer of this, who was present, recollects well 
the shade of disgust that passed over the faces of 
the audience at the prospect of sitting out another 
hour of dullness. He bowed dignifiedly to the Pres- 
ident and audience. His boyish appearance was 
already gone, giving place to the ease and self-posses- 
sion born of conscious strength. He commenced 
with a few long, Ciceronian sentences, as stately and 
beautiful in structure as a Grecian temple, and what 
was more, he kept them up for a full hour, never 
faltering for a word, never missing a note in the lofty 
song which he commenced, winding up with a burst of 
eloquence in favor of universal freedom that Colonel 
Baker might have equaled, but never surpassed. 
There was none of the school-boy in the oration. 
The sentences, ponderous as they were, came out of 
his mouth as if propelled by an intellectual steam 
engine. Had the people seen a train of cars dragged 
by a single pony, going a hundred miles an hour, their 
astonishment could not have been greater. The fol- 
lowing night bespoke at Lancha Plana to a large 
audience, that had gathered, as much out of curiosity 
as anything else, to hear the prodigy. Those who 
had not heard him still contended that he must have 
repeated what had been written for him by some one 
else; but a circumstance occurred which set that 
question at rest. A few minutes before he ascended 
the stand the news came that Colonel Baker had 
been elected United States Senator for Oregon — 
Oregon, the home of Joe Lane, the immovable Dem- 
ocratic State! The subject was one worthy the 
power of an orator, and Fitch did it justice. " The 
waves of public opinion, sweeping a continent in their 
course, are rocking the strongest citadels of slavery." 
Those who came out of curiosity remained, entranced. 
Perhaps he was the only man who ever spoke in 
Amador county that would hold every one of his 
audience to the close. 

Though a born orator, of unsurpassed ability, his 



moral qualities were not of corresponding great- 
ness. He sadly disappointed the hopes of his early 
admirers, and is now only a fourth rate lawyer. 

Among the prominent speakers engaged in this 
campaign was James H. Hardy, candidate for Judge 
of the Sixteenth Judicial District, who ably sup- 
ported the Breckenridge side of the question. 

The general vote was: Lincoln, 995; Douglass, 
1866; Breckenridge, 945; Bell, 178; total, 3984, being 
the largest vote ever polled in the county. 


Judge of 16th Judicial District — J. H. Hardy. 

Assemblymen — R. Burnell, Thomas Horrell. 

Sheriff — B. Cosner. 

Clerk— J. W. Bicknell.* 

Treasurer — 0. A. LaGrave. 

District Attorney — J. Boot Turner. 

Assessor — F. McGrath. 

Bublic Administrator — E. Gallagher. 

Superintendent of Schools — Samuel Fage. 

Surveyor — J. M. Griffith. 

Coroner— W. E. Fifield. 


Township No. 1— H. J. Bostwick, M. J. Little. 
Township No. 2— W. C. Pratt, Charles English. 
Township No. 3— J. M. Hanford, S. S. Hartram. 
Township No. 4 — Harvey Wood, D. R. Gans. 
Township No. 5— C. W. N. Hinkson, George W. 

Township No. 6— H.Bell, B. Nicholls. 
Township No. 7 — J. McMurren, S. H. Loree. 


The discovery of the Comstock mines gave an 
increased desire for the building of a wagon road 
to Carson valley. The Legislature, by an act ap- 
proved March 23, 1861, required the Board of Super- 
visors of Amador, to call a special election of the 
voters of Amador county to submit to them a pro- 
position to issue bonds of said county, not exceeding 
in the aggregate the sum of forty thousand dollars, to 
be expended in the construction of a wagon road, com- 
mencing at Antelope Springs, in Amador county, on 
the ridge dividing the waters of the Mokelumne and 
Cosumnes rivers, and following thence the best practi- 
cable route to Hope valley on the eastern slope of the 
Sierra Nevada Mountains, and for the purpose at the 
same time of electing one Road Commissioner in each 
Supervisor District of said county. 

The proposition was rejected by the following vote: 
For building the road, 1495; against, 1683. 

A year later the subject was revived and carried 

*J. W. Bicknell was nominated in the Convention by a bit of 
sharp practice. Alvinza Hay ward, a friend of Bicknell's, went 
around among the delegates, asking them to give the old gentleman 
a complimentary vote, saying that he could not get the nomi- 
nation, but it would please him to get a good vote. When 
the complimentary vote was counted, it was found to be the 
requisite number to nominate him. There was no chance to 
retreat; so the Convention bore the joke as well as they could. 


Enrolled 1861, for service on the plains, guai'ding 
the mail route to Fort Laramie: — 

Win. McMullen,Capt. 

D. B. Haskell, 1st. Lieut. 

R. M. Crandall, 2d. Lieut. 

John Parsons, Brev. Lieut. 

W. L. Rhynerson, 

J. M. Griffith, 

J. H. Bradley, 

A. Allen, 

W. R. McCormiek, 

C. H. Ashby, 

L. D. Winchester, 

Geo. Teas, 

John Ferguson, 

I.N. Swan, 

F. Brill, 

J. Johnson, 

P. H. Repp, 

John Morris, 

Isaac Perrin, 

W. S. Cooledge. 

Joseph Alyea, 

A. R. Martin, 

J. C. H. Wagner. 

[The publishers intended to furnish a list of all the 
volunteers who left the county, but were unable to 
get their names.] 

The Supervisors made the following report of finan- 
cial matters May 7, 1861: — 

Amounts of all warrants drawn on Treas- 
ury from Nov. 5, I860, to May 7, 1861, 
on General Fund $22,991.26 

Total receipts for same time exclusive of 

Calaveras and School Funds 31,366.81 

Total amount of indebtedness exclusive of 
interest on outstanding warrants and 
Calaveras debt 4,936.05 

Calaveras indebtedness 'including interest 
on same ." 5,769.69— $10,754.74 

Assets — County buildings and furniture. . 14,500.00 

Cash on hand including solvent debts . . 6,955.86— $21,455.86 

Above indebtedness. ... $10,701.06 

A. R. Abbott, 
John Davis, 
Joseph Willet, 
J. Dennis, 

F. Robjent, 
John Ennis, 
J. P. Ewing, 
Albert Moore, 

D. B. Trimble, 
J. Hall, 

T. J. Yager, 

B. J. Thompson, 
Geo. Monroe, 
John Evans, 

H. R. Brown, 
John Dickinson, 
T. H. Dickin, 
Chas. Walton, 
A. Carpenter, 
P. Brady, 

E. McCaugherty, 
W. Kelly, 


For State purposes on each $100. 
County purposes, " ' 

School purposes, " ' 

Indigent sick, " ' 

Calaveras debt, " ' 

Road purposes, " 

Also $6.00 poll-tax for State 

. 5c — $1.75 

and County purposes. 

At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Decem- 
ber 26, 1861, the following proceedings were had: — 

"Whereas, By the quarterly financial report of 
the Auditor and Treasurer of Amador county, sub- 
mitted to the Board on the first Monday of Decem- 
ber, 1861, it appears that there was, upon that day, 
in the hands of said Treasurer, the sum of six thou- 
sand one hundred and fifty-five dollars and four 
cents, credited to a fund known as the Calaveras 
County Fund; and, 

"Whereas, It is the opinion of this Board that 
the object for which said fund was created, no longer 
exists (the debt formerly due from Amador county 
to said Calaveras county, having been fully paid). 

" It is therefore ordered that the said Treasurer of 
Amador county be, and is hereby directed, to trans- 



for from the said Calaveras County Fund to the Gen 
oral Fund <>l' Amador county, the sum of six I Imusand 
dollars, and also that all such num or sums as may- 
be paid into the said Treasury after the said first 
Monday of December, 1861, upon said Calaveras 
County Fund, be credited to the General Fund of 
Amador county." 

From the records of the Board of Supervisors, it 
appears that on the second day of December, 1861 
they entered into an agreement with J. Foot Tur- 
ner, by which the said Turner agreed to evade or 
satisfy the payment on the part of Amador county, 
of the sum of six thousand one hundred and fifty- 
eight dollars, then on hand and in the treasury, due 
to the county of Calaveras as a part of the Cala- 
veras indebtedness on warrant 103, which he seems 
to have done, as he was allowed the commission of 
ten per cent, on the same, at a meeting of the Board 
September 1, 1862. . Subsequently, however, the mat^ 
ter came before the .District Court. In the suit 
of Beals, the holder of warrant No. 103, against the 
Supervisors of Amador county, in 1864, the records 
showed that a writ of mandamus was issued from 
the District Court, S. W. Brockway presiding, to 
the Board of Supervisors of Amador county, requir- 
ing them to levy a special tax for the payment of 
the balance of the Calaveras indebtedness, amount- 
ing to $7,556.16, in accordance with a law aj>proved 
April 27, 1855. The matter was appealed to the 
Supreme Court, where the decision of Judge Brock- 
way was confirmed. The amount of the Avarrant 
when drawn, was $26,517.32; up to 1865, $31,292.83 
had been paid on it when the county, by the advice 
of J. Foot Turner, refused to pay anything further. 
The judgment given by Brockway, $7,556.16, was 
avoided until it amounted to $11,000, making over 
$40,000 in all that was paid on the warrant, the 
costs, and attorneys' fees, swelling it to at least $50,- 
000, before the demand was settled. 


It is said that the offices of Sheriff and County 
Clerk, were worth from fifteen to twenty thousand 
dollars per year. The latter was also Recorder of 
Deeds, and acted as the Clerk of the Board of Super- 
visors and Equalization; also, as Auditor of Accounts, 
for all of which he drew high pay. At a meeting of 
the Board of Supervisors, February 6, 1861, present, 
James H. Allen and George Mc Williams, it was 
ordered that the Auditor, J. W. Bicknell, be paid, as 
salary, two hundred and forty dollars per month, in 
quarterly installments; though October 9th, follow- 
ing, his salary was reduced to one hundred and sixty- 
five dollars per month. The following items from 
the records of the Board of Supervisors will show 
how the money went: — 

November 18, 1861— Allowed J. W. Bicknell $300 
for making assessment roll; also, $58 as Clerk to 
the Board of Equalization. 

October 3, 1862— $100 per month for signing poll- 
tax receipts, and foreign miners' licenses. 

October 3, L862 — (Page 435, Vol. B, minutes of 
Board of Supervisors.) Allowed J. W. Bicknell quar- 
terly salary as Auditor. $495; quarterly salary as 
Clerk of Board of Supervisors, $167.50. 

October 8th — Recording bonds of county officers, 

November 8th — Allowed for acting as Clerk of 
Supervisors, $96. Each of the Board also allowed 
themselves, November 8, 1862, $48, as members of 
the Board of Equalization. 

July 1, 1861 — George F. Tripp, allowed fees in 
criminal cases, $2,155, a fourth claim — $810 — being 
rejected. For a few minutes' services as interpreter, 
involving no loss of time worth mentioning, $5.00 
was allowed. $24 was allowed for moving a person 
twelve miles. 

February 14, 1863 — Treasurer LaGrave allowed 
three per cent., amounting to $64, for apportioning 
School Fund. 

June 2, 1862 — C. Y. Hammond and other Super- 
visors allowed each $32 for services on the wagon- 
road election, which services should have been 
included in the ordinary duties of Supervisor. The 
Chairman was allowed $25 per month for signing 
road receipts. 

July 7, 1863 — Board of Supervisors allowed them- 
selves $8.00 per day for twenty-three days, for act- 
ing as members of the Board of Equalization. 

July 7, 1863 — Allowed fees to Sheriff for month of 
June, $549 53; also, for copying summons to Jurors, 

March 3, 1863 — Allowed County Treasurer $143 
for signing licenses; same date, J. VV. Bicknell $330 
for acting as County Auditor. 

April 8, 1863 — Treasurer allowed $88.40 for appor- 
tioning School Fund; June 6th, for same, $119.34. 

January 6, 1863— For printing blank road receipts, 

April 8, 1863— Allowed $251 for printing county 
blanks; also, June 2d, for same, $120. 

June 6, 1863 — Quarterly salary of $495 allowed 
J. W. Bicknell as Auditor. 

September 9 th — $285 rent allowed for county 
buildings for month of August. 

September 9, 1863— $627 allowed as Sheriff's fees 
for last month. 

September 21, 1863 — Supervisors allowed them- 
selves $8.00 a day as canvassers of the election 

October 7, 1863— J. W. Bicknell allowed $200 for 
making out duplicate military list. 

December 16, 1863 — County Auditor allowed $495 
as quarter's salary. 

All services rendered seemed to be the subject for 
special fees. It is not strange that candidates 
should spend a thousand or two in trying to get a 
nomination when a nomination was equivalent to an 
election, or as much when the result of the election 
was doubtful. 


Soon after the election of Lincoln, the old land- 
marks, which had stood for many years as guides to 
the various political crafts, went down out of sight. 
Men who had for a quarter of a century anchored to 
the Whig or Democratic doctrines, found themselves 
without soundings. Professed politicians, who were 
accustomed to weigh public opinion and move 
accordingly, were now unable to tell where the 
surging waters and contrary currents would permit 



UTNBWrrOf/Se'R£Y, S F- 



secure anchorage. When everything is in confusion, 
it sometimes happens that a single commanding 
voice will turn a wavering crowd to its own course. 
The steady disruption of the Southern States, the 
boldness of their friends in California, who certainly 
evinced no fear of consequences, made the prospect 
of cutting out California from the Union, quite 
imminent. The newspapers, usually, are but the 
mouth-pieces of public sentiment. During this uncer- 
tain condition of affairs, the Ledger, which, since 
1S56, had been acting with the Democratic party, 
while speaking of the breaking off from the Union of 
Southern States, remarked: "For the pi-esent the 
interests of California seem to be, to remain with the old 
Union. 1 ' 

This sentiment prevailed to a great extent among 
the politicians. Among the first to raise the alarm 
of danger, was E. M. Briggs, a Douglass Democrat, 
who called public meetings in different parts of the 
county, and proclaimed to the people the designs of 
some of the ultra-Breckenridge Democrats to carry 
California out of the Union. He made speeches in 
his peculiar style of oratory, in several of the larger 
towns; introduced strong Union resolutions, with no 
uncertain sound, which were usually adopted. At 

lone he was met with a solid Union club of one 
hundred, from Muletown, headed by the president, 
Jack Miller, who pledged his company to the main- 
tenance of the Union, though some of his political 
friends persuaded him afterwards that he was a little 
premature in his promises. There is no doubt that 
these demonstrations, made previous to the firing on, 
and surrender of, Fort Sumter, helped to shape 
public sentiment, so that when the time came for an 
expression of public opinion, it was overwhelmingly 
in favor of the perpetuity of the Union. The Fourth 
of July celebrations in the different towns of the 
county were hearty and enthusiastic — nearly the 
whole population participating. 

The Douglass Democratic Convention at Sacra- 
mento, which met to nominate a candidate for 
Governor, took strong Union grounds, denouncing 
hesitation as cowardice, and doubt as treason. 

The three parlies put forward full sets of candi- 
dates. All professed to be in favor of union. The 
Bepublicans favored the maintenance of the Union 
by prosecuting the war until all rebellion was crushed 
out, at whatever expense; the Douglass Democrats, by 
conducting the war according to the Constitution, 
with Democratic generals under a Democratic admin- 





Badger's Store. . . . 

Boston Store 

Buena Vista 

Butte City 


Dry town 


Foster's Ranch . . 

Forest Home 

Iowa Flat 

lone City 


Lancha Plana 

Martin's Ranch. . . 

Middle Bar 


New York Ranch. 

Rich Bar 

Pine Grove 

Putt's Bar. . . . 


Sutter Creek 

Upper Rancheria. . 


Willow Springs. . . 

White's Bar 


French Bar 









































































2 22 
43 1 



. 25 

























Totals 1258 827 1299 14481838 1099 1487 1478 841 844 1063 1058 8 43 

IB ~ 














































































































27 1370 1477 819 826 1024 1083 



















































istration, believing thai genuine Dei tracy was a 

euro for all (he ills that could befall a State. The 
Breokenridge Democrats were supposed to be, to 
some extent, in sympathy with the Rebellion, but 
they confined their arguments mostly to charging 
the Administration with numerous faults, and a 
systematic violation of the Constitution. Axtell, 
Parley, and Eagan were able speakers, and repre- 
sented the Nation as having been hurried into a 
needless war by the infatuation of half-crazy 
fanatics, who, unless prevented, would ruin every- 
thing to give liberty to a race that was little above 
the beasts of the field in intellectual and moral devel- 
opment. It was their object generally to represent 
the South as the aggrieved party, that was willing, 
even anxious, to return to the Union when their 
rights were secured to them. Occasionally a speaker, 
like the Hon. A. B. Dibble, of Nevada, would take 
up the old story of negro equality, and draw a lively 

picture of a 

' ' Nisger in the bed 
With your sister wed." 

But the more thoughtful knew that two opposing 
civilizations had met in the " irrepressible conflict;" 
the one based on the rights of ail men to pursue 
their own substantial happiness; the other, on the 
customs which made privileged classes of kings, 
nobility, and hereditary masters, with the concom- 
itants of subjects and slaves. It must be confessed 
that in the history of the ages that have gone before, 
the privileged classes have usually won the field. 

The relative strength of the parties, as manifested 
by the vote for Governor, was: For Stanford (Bepub- 
lican), 1,299; Conness (Douglass Democrat), 1,258; 
McConnell (Breckenridge Democrat), 827. 

The following persons were elected in Amador 
county: — 

State Senator — R. Burn ell. 

Assemblymen — G. W. Seaton, VV. A. Waddell. 

Supervisor, District No. 3 — James H. Allen. 


Township No. 1— J. G. High, G. S. Smith. 
Township No. 2 — Chas. English, J. A. Petei-s. 
Township No. 3 — H. T. Barnum, John Doble. 
Township No. 4— J. S. Hill, H. Wood. 
Township No. 5— B. C. Brown, E. B. Styles. 
Township No. 6 — Green Aden, B. Nichols. 
Township No. 7 — S. H. Loree, N. Yipon. 


The increasing importance of the Nevada mines, 
the discovery of the veins at Markleeville, Silver 
City, and other places in the eastern part of Amador 
county, the transportation of enormous quantities 
of goods over the Placerville route, and the conse- 
quent prosperity of that portion of El Dorado county, 
traversed by the road, induced the friends of an 
Amador tramontane road, to make another effort. 
Accordingly, in answer to the requests of a large 
number of petitioners, the Legislature granted a 

second trial, specifying how the road should be built, 
in case the people voted for it. An election was 
hold May 10. 18(12. About sixty per cent, of the popu- 
lation voted, the measure being carried by less than 
half of the voters in the county. Towns along the 
proposed line of the road, or connected with it, 
voted nearly unanimously for it. Towns outside, 
like Lancha Plana, were equally opposed to it. The 
■ I ucstion was decided by a vote of 1,307 for, and 542 


For or Against the Amador YVajjon Road, May 10, 1S62. 



t» o 



2 « 

w Pj 

Against the Road 
and Issuance of 













Fosters Ranch 


Pine Grove 




Butte City 





Q. Ran ch 



New York Ranch . 




French Bar 


lone City 


Iowa Flat 


Total - 



A. J. Potter, Wm. Crangle, and W. C. Jennings 
were chosen a Board of Commissioners to build the 

The franchise for building this road was granted 
to 0. D. Burleson, James Tullock, E. B. Wooley, Geo. 
Johnson, B. M. Briggs, David Coblentz, M. Tynan, 
and Leroy Worden. The county was permitted, 
by Act of the Legislature, to assist these parties 
to the extent of twenty-five thousand dollars in 
bonds bearing twelve per cent, interest per annum, 
payable in one, two, three, four and five years from 
date. In case the county donated these bonds, the 
road was to be finished by the 1st of October of the 
same year, or the franchise was to be forfeited. The 
road was to be sixteen feet wide, and the maximum 
grade eighteen feet to the hundred. Tolls were per- 
mitted as follows: — 

For each loaded wagon, one dollar; for each ani- 
mal attached, twenty -five cents; loaded pack-ani- 
mals, each twenty -five cents; pleasure carriages 
and buggies, one dollar; empty freight wagons and 
unladen pack-animals, half rates. The tolls were to 
be reduced twenty per cent, at the end of five years. 

The route was divided into five sections, begin- 
ning at Antelope Springs, thence to Tragedy Springs, 
which formed section No. 1; thence to the crossing 



of the outlet of Silver lake, which formed section 
No. 2; thence to Carson Spur, No. 3; to Summit lake, 
No. 4; and Hope valley, No. 5; the road at the latter 
place intersecting the Big Tree and Carson Valley 
road. The payment of the bonds was provided for 
by taxes as follows, levied on all property: — 

1862— Twenty-five cents on each $100. 

1863— Fifty cents on each $100. 

1864 — Forty-five cents on each $100. 

1865 — Forty cents on each $100. 

1866— Thirty -five on each $100. 

1867 — Thirty cents on each $100. 
When the vote was found to be in favor of the road, 
quite a rush was made to get favorable locations for 
public houses, and several fine buildings were erected 
at different points along the road. Saw-mills were con- 
structed with the expectation of supplying both the 
VV ashoe mines and the Sacramento market. On com- 
pletion of the road a stage line,,in connection with the 
Sacramento and Stockton lines, took passengers to 
Silver Lake and other way places, ^uite a trade 
sprang up over the road, the farmers carrying their 
fruit and produce to Washoe. The travel had to be 
abandoned as winter came, on account of the snow, 
which fell to the depth of from three to twenty feet, 
the last named being the usual depth at Silver Lake. 
The deep snow very often crushed the houses and 
destroyed the furniture. A fine house near Corral 
Flat, owned by Goldsworthy and Mayo, was de- 
stroyed in this way. The road did not answer the 
expectations of the public. The trade was not diverted 
from the Placerville road, and, on the completion of 
the railroad to Nevada, both roads fell into compara- 
tive disuse. The lower portion of the road is used 
to take lumber from the mountains, and, in Summer, 
a few visitors to Silver Lake give a little life to the 
higher portion. 


Hardy was Judge of the Sixteenth Judicial District 
comprising the counties of Amador and Calaveras. 
He was a man of undisputed talents, great inde- 
pendence of character, amounting to recklessness. 
Like all men of that chai*acter, he took no middle 
course, was always in one extreme or the other, 
and made hosts of friends as well as enemies. Early 
in the contest he took the side of the South; often 
boasted of being a rebel, expressed the opinion that the 
Government had gone to hell, drank to the success 
of the Southern Confederacy, and conducted himself 
generally in a way hardly suitable to the position 
he occupied. Early in the session of the Legislature 
of 186^, Judge Campbell of Calaveras, prepared 
articles of impeachment, numbering some twenty or 
more, charging him with malfeasance in office on 
divers occasions; one specification being a charge 
of violating his oath of office in procuring the dis- 
charge of David S. Terry, on his trial for killing 
Broderick. The article alleged that a change of 
venue had been made to Marin county, where Hardy 

was holding Court; that, with his knowledge and 
consent, the clock had been put forward; that he 
opened Court at ten according to the clock, although 
it was much earlier by the true time; that the trial 
was hastily and indecently hurried through, with- 
out giving time to get the witnesses on the part of 
the State; that, although the important witnesses 
were then on the way from San Francisco, and, 
even in sight on the bay, being detained by con- 
trary winds (there then being no steam-ferry), ho 
refused to continue the Court, and ordered the jury 
in the absence of the witnesses, to find for the 
acquittal of Terry, setting him free. On this charge, 
the Assembly, sitting as a High Court of Impeach- 
ment, was evenly divided, standing eighteen to 
eighteen. On the charge of uttering disloyal senti- 
ments, and using language unbecoming his high posi- 
tion, he was found guilty, and suspended from per- 
forming the duties of the office. 

Judge W. H. Badgely, afterwards unanimously 
elected to the position, was appointed to fill the 
unexpired portion of the term. 


The disruption of the Douglass Democracy, became 
apparent early in the season. The efforts put for- 
ward by the South to maintain the Confederacy, 
and, by the Administration to break it down, con- 
vinced the most skeptical that peace could come 
only by the utter defeat of one or the other. The 
Democracy now assumed a stronger tone. The 
Dispatch, their ably edited organ, did not hesitate 
to. avow its sympathy for the Bebellion, and kept in 
its columns the Kentucky resolutions of 1798, which 
held to the right of each State to judge of any infrac- 
tion of the compact by any other State, as well as 
the right to choose it own remedy therefor, mean- 
ing that each and every individual of the family 
of States had a right to step out, at its will or con- 
venience. About this time, the "Ivnights of the 
Golden Circle " were organized in different parts of 
the county. Their meetings were generally held 
in out-of-the-way places, and as quietly as possible. 
The object of the organization was probably made 
known to but few of the members even, the design 
being to have the material well in hand to use in 
case an opportunity offered, rather than the execu- 
tion of any well-digested pian of aiding the Eebeliion, 
or carrying the State of California out of the Union. 
A hundred and twenty-eight men had monthly 
meetings in the hills west of the Blue Bidge, near 
where Stony creek comes into Jackson creek; 
though, it is said, that a few meetings were held 
near Buena Vista. The organization was met by 
another, the "Loyal League," and also by the 
organization of the " Home Guards," who were sup- 
plied with guns and ammunition by the Govern- 
ment. The fact that the population of California 
was composed of people from all the States, ren- 
dered it quite certain that an insurrection would be 



attended with ;i fearful destruction of life and prop- 
erty. Property is always a powerful conservator 
of the peace; and it was much harder to arouse the 
people into a war of ideas Mum it would have been 
ten years before, when the farms, residences, and 
valuable stores, had not yet made their appearance; 
and no insurrection occurred. 

When the Republican Convention met, a petition, 
signed by three hundred Douglass Democrats, was 
handed in, asking the Convention to drop the name 
"Republican," disorganize, and form a Union party. 
As there was nothing in a name, and the objects of 
the two were essentially the same, the request was 
acceded to. It will be remembered that the Doug- 
lass Democrats in the county, only a year before, 
had a much larger number of votes than the Breck- 
enridge Democrats; the relative numbers of the 
parties on the vote for Governor being for Stanford, 
1,299; Conness, 1,258; McConnel, 827. 

They had swept all the county offices by majori- 
ties from three to eight hundred. 

The vote for State Senator in 1861 was: For Bur- 
nell, 1,546; Farley, 1,029; Hanford, 753. 

Mr. Burnell joined the Union party. The move- 
ment seems to have been preconcerted throughout 
the State, as from this date the Douglass party dis- 
appeared. The Democratic party ceased to wear 
any qualifying prefix, and became, thenceforth, the 
"Simon Pure." The old and well-known war horses, 
Farley, Gordon, Axtell, a»d Eagan, still held their 
places as leaders in the ranks; but Porter and Briggs 
were now found with the Republicans. It will be 
seen that Wm. H. Badgely, who had been appointed 
to fill the unexpired term, made vacant by the 
impeachment of James H. Hardy, received the unani- 
mous vote of all parties. 

(Showing the relative standing of parties.) 

State Supt. Public Instruction. votes. 

John Swett (Rep.) 1497 

J. D. Stevenson (Dem.) . _ _ 1327 

O. P. Fitzerald (A. D.) 391 

District Judge. 
Wm. H. Badgely [vice Hardy impeached] 

received the entire vote of . ... 3067 


A. B. Andrews (Dem.) 1563 

E. M. Simpson (Rep.) 1550 

Edward Gallagher (Dem.) 1496 

J. G. Severance (Rep.) 1524 

County Judge. 

M. W. Gordon (Dem.) 1595 

J. M. Porter (Rep.) 1560 

County Clerk. 

James "W. Bickn ell (Dem.) 1712 

C. C. Belding (Rep.) 1464 

County Recorder. 

A. Day (Dem.) 1692 

Isaiah Heaeock (Rep.) ..... 1501 


R. Cosner (Dem.) 1765 

S. F. Dexter (Rep.) 1431 

District Attorney. 

S. B. Axtell (Dem.) 

I!. M. Briggs ( Rep. I 

County Treasurer. 

F. McGrath (Dem.) 

Antonio Arata (Rep.) 

Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

Samuel Page (Dem.) - 

E. B. Mclntyre ( Rep.) 

Public Administrator. 

Geo. W. Beers (Dem.) 

Wm. Pitt (Rep.) 


Louis Wentzel (Dem.) . 

J. Shumer (Rep.) 


Geo. Kress (Dem.) 

J. M. Griffith (Rep.) 

Supervisor, District No. 1. 
I. B. Gregory (Dem.) _ 

G. W. Withington (Rep.).. 

Township System. 





1 556 








On the 23d of August, 1862, will be more particu- 
larly described under the head of "Jackson," in the 
township histories. The principal interest at this 
point of our view is the destruction of the county 
buildings. It will be remembered that the town of 
Jackson donated the Court House, costing some ten 
thousand dollars, to the county, the jail being after- 
wards added at an expense of more than six thousand 
dollars. On the morning of the 24th, the county 
was without a place of meeting for the Courts. 
Rooms were hired in different places for transacting 
the county ^business, at high rates — one hundred 
dollars per month being paid for the use of a hall in 
which to hold Court. The offices of Sheriff, County 
Clerk, Treasurer, and District Attorney, were kept 
from necessity in inconvenient and improper places. 
These circumstances induced Judge Gordon to set 
forth the necessity of erecting county buildings, and 
the powers of the Supervisors in the premises, in the 
following petition: — 


"To the Board of Supervisors, of Amador county, Cali- 
fornia: Your petitioner, a resident citizen and tax- 
payer of said county, respectfully represents to said 
Board, that, by article eleven, section five, of the 
Constitution of said State, the Legislature thereof 
"have power to provide for the election of a Board 
of Supervisors in each county; and that these Super- 
visors, shall jointly and individually perform such 
duties as may be prescribed by law." Your peti- 
tioner states, that, in pursuance of said law, the said 
Legislature, at its sixth session, by an Act approved 
March 20, 1855, did create and establish, in each of 
the counties of this State, a Board of Supervisors. 

" Your petitioner says, that, both by the said Con- 
stitutional provision and by the provisions of said 
law, the sole power over the property of each county, 
is given to the Board of Supervisors, and is pro- 
hibited to the Legislature of the State, the Legisla- 
ture having the power to provide only for the election 
of a Board of Supervisors, who shall perform such 
duties as may be prescribed by law. 


"•'-•."-■>A 9 

. ■1 # 


*£, "4* ! 

"Jr *s 




II i ! 

f- 1 


#v jp /te 

s^fcs&gsS&B "■■•■•■'.- si i . ■' "^ -rsv*' 

Residence and Ranch of JAMES W SHEALOR. 
Miles E. from Volcano, Amador County, Cal, 

Residence and Sawmill of F. M.WH1TM0RE. 
Antelope Creek .near Volcano, AmadorCdunty.Cal. 



" Your petitioner says that amongst the duties pre- 
scribed by law, to be performed by said Board, 
(Wood's Digest, page 692, section 91), is the duty 
" To cause to be erected and furnished a Court House, 
jail, and such other public buildings as may be neces- 
sary, and to keep the 'same in repair." It is true, 
that section 16, page 696, says: " The Board of 
Supervisors shall not, for any purpose, contract debts 
or liabilities, except those fixed by, or in pursuance of 
law; and whenever debts or liabilities shall have been 
created, which, added to the salaries of county 
officers and other estimated liabilities fixed by law 
for the remainder of the year, will equal the revenue 
of the county for current expenses, no allowance 
whatever shall be made of any account; nor shall 
any expense be incurred other than the salaries and 
fees expressly prescribed by, or in pursuance of, the 
law." But it will be observed that the erection and 
furnishing of a Court House and jail are fixed bylaw 
in section 91, clause 11. 

L "Your petitioner says that the granting of the 
powers in said Act to the Board of Supervisors by 
the Legislature, and the specification of the duties 
to be performed by said Board excludes the Legis- 
lature from all power over the : airs of each and 
every county in the State, and f.xes those duties 
exclusively on the Board of Supe ,'isors. 

" Your petitioner says that, by article 514, section 
2, page 127, Wood's Digest, Jac son is the county 
seat of Amador county; and tnat, by article 670, 
section 59, page 154. the Court House must be situated 
at the county seat. 

" Your petitioner says that the Court House and 
county jail of Amador county was destroyed by fire 
On the 23d of August, 1862; that these public 
buildings are necessary for the conducting of 
the civil and criminal business of the county, 
and that the public business cannot be transacted 
without them; that, as already shown, it is the 
duty of the Board of Supervisors to proceed, as soon 
as practicable, to erect and furnish a Court House 
and jail at Jackson, for the use of said Amador 

"Your petitioner, therefore, moves the Honorable 
the Board of Supervisors of Amador county, on the 
3d of October, a. d. 1862, to hear this petition, 
to examine the law and the facts in said petition 
alleged; and upon the allegations herein being 
proved, that said Board will decide upon erecting, as 
soon as practicable, a Court House and county jail, on 
the site of the late Court House and jail, not to 
exceed in cost the sum of twenty thousand dollars. 

September 15, 1862. M. W. Gordon." 

Board of Supervisors — District No. 1, J. B. Greg- 
ory; District No. 2, H. B. Bishop; District No. 3, 
J. H. Allen. 

On the 4th of October the Supervisors invited pro- 
posals for the building of a Court House and jail, 
according to plans presented, but on opening the 
bids at the following session they were found too 
indefinite for acceptation, and new ones were called 
for, according to a plan presented by S. D. Mandell, 
architect of the M. E. Church of lone. It will be 
seen that during this year the debts were made 
which hung over the county for twenty years, 
bonds being issued for Amador wagon road, 
twenty-five thousand dollars; for Court House and 
jail an indefinite sum; for hospital, also uncertain. 

October 3d, the Commissioners reported the com- 
pletion of the wagon road, and the full amount of 
the bonds authorized to be issued was paid over to 
the contractors. 


The doubtful result of the war, the loss of friends 
and relatives on one side or the other by nearly all, 
begat an ill-feeling between the two parties that, at 
times, looked like the forerunner of hostilities. The 
Ledger and Dispatch now flung terms of reproach, 
more true than polite, perhaps, but bitter and unre- 
lenting. It was difficult to tell whether national 
issues, personal animosity, or desire for office, was 
the greatest motive in the conduct of the campaign. 
Men would be found first on one side and then on 
the other, as one or the other of these motives pre- 
vailed, and, it would seem, buried all doubts by an 
increased or simulated enthusiasm for the side 
adopted. An old politician expressed the sentiment 
that each side accused the other of all kinds of venal- 
ity, and knew themselves guilty of it. Every tech- 
nicality was used to further the interests of the dif- 
ferent individuals. 

Some men were bold enough to throw technicali- 
ties to the winds, and fix up ballots by the hun- 
dred. The famous 


Occurred this season. At night the poll list num- 
bered twenty-six, but, during the counting, it 
swelled to one hundred and thirty-eight, with votes 
in the ballot-box to correspond. Jim Saultry was 
credited with planning and executing this brilliant 
raid on the enemy's ranks, which, however, failed to 
elect anybody. The names were said to have been 
taken from a Panama passenger list. 

The eastern part of the county, up among the 
pine trees, had rather uncertain boundaries, and 
pleasure parties, or others could, according to the 
existing law, get up a precinct almost anywhere, 
and shape or influence elections. When the tempta- 
tions for fraud were so great, and the opportunities 
so frequent, nothing less than divine strength would 
take the just course, and we have to look in century- 
old annals for politicians of that character. 

Complaints, that the collecting of taxes by the 
Sheriff gave too much importance to that office, hav- 
ing become general, the Legislature provided for 
township Assessors and Collectors; and for six years, 
from 1863 to 1869, the latter method was in use. 

At the election for Supervisors, held in 1863, cpiite 
a contest occurred as to the boundaries of Amador 
County in the vicinity of the Summit. The follow- 
ing extract from the Ledger will show the animus of 
the affair: — 

" Out of curiosity, however, and for the purpose of 
branding Copperhead demagogues with the eternal 
and ineffacable stamp of burning infamy and dis- 
grace which of light belongs to them, the recount 
was made, and that same count did disclose and fasten 



upon the BO-called Democratic party of Amador 
county, the mosl disgraceful, hellish, diabolical, and 

deep <l\ ed villainous scheme to commit a crime upon 

the body politic thai ever disgraced the criminal 
calendars of the whole world. The hare thoughl of 

w hat he has done to the " tool " employed to execute 
it, must lie a coal of fire in his brain, an enraged 

adder in Ids heart. He must feel as if every hair of 
his bead were a serpent, like the hair of Eumenides, 
and his aids and abettors, the devil's scanty leavings, 
over whom, in their last hours, black despair shall 
sit, with carrion birds and scccsb owls hovering over 
their heads.' 

As the article does not give any clue to the crime, 
it may be explained that tampering with the votes 
was suspected. 

Having given a sample of the editorial style of 
the Ledger, the Dispatch must be equally favored. In 
the edition of June 4, 1864, referring to Lincoln, 
it said: — 

"Is it possible that this long-shanked, flop-eared, 
jimber-jawed, mule-countenanced, backwoods, rail- 
splitting boor is wiser, purer, more far-seeing, and 
understands better the powers of the Government 
than the great Father of his country, who presided 
over the deliberations of the Convention that made 


State Senator — E. Burnell. 

Members of Assembly — Wm. B. Ludlow, A. C. 

County Judge — J. Foot Turner. 

District Attorney — R. M. Briggs. 

County Clerk— E. S. Hall. 

Recorder — H. Wood. 

Sheriff— B. B. Redhead. 

Treasurer — Otto Walther. 

Surveyor — J. M. Griffith. 

Supt. Schools — D. Townscnd. 

Public Administrator — H. Robinson. 

Coroner— C. H. Kelly. 

From the minutes of the Board of Supervisors it 
appears that some doubt existed as to who was 
elected Supervisor from District No. 3. E. B. 
Woolley and E. A. Kingsley both appeared and 
claimed the seat. The latter had acted as Super- 
visor one month, and drawn pay therefor. On the 
22d of November, Bishop and Gregory recognized 
E. B. Woolley as the member, Kingsley filing a pro- 
test thereto. The latter appeared for several days as 
a claimant to the seat. November 6th, he was 
allowed thirty-seven dollars salary and mileage, 
Woolley retaining his position. 



F. F. Low (Rep.) 2,245 

J. G. Downey (Dem.) 2,046 


T. B. Shannon (Rep.) 2,258 

Wm. Higby (Rep.) 2,256 

C. Cole (Rep.) 2,257 

John B. Weller (Dem.) 2,042 

John Bigler (Dem.) 2,043 

.V K. Whitesides (Dem.) 2,044 

County Ticket. 

i;. Burnell (Rep.) 2,165 

J.T. Farley (Dem.) 2,022 

W. B. Ludlow i Rep.) 2,166 

A. C. Brown (Rep.) 2,182 

Woodburn (Dem.) 1,908 

Lea (Dem.). ..1,948 


B. B. Redhead (Rep.) 2,153 

R. Cosner (Dem.) 2,043 

County Clerk. 

E. S. Hall (Rep.) 2,152 

J. W. Bicknell (Dem.) 2,036 


Otto Walther (Rep.) 2,184 

Francis McGrath (Dem.) 2,008 

District Attorney. 

R. M. Briggs (Rep.) .2,210 

S. B. Axtell (Dem.) _ 1,869 

Public Administrator. 

H. Robinson (Rep.) . . 2,196 

Beers (Dem.) _ 2,009 


J. M. Griffith (Rep.) 2,185 

Kress (Dem.) 2,003 

This estimate includes the vote of the territory 
afterwards incorporated into the territory of Alpine. 


No. 1— John Burke, Collector; J. G. High, C. Y. 
Hammond, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 2 — J. Farnsworth, Collector; H. M. Roberts, 
Cbas. English, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 3— T. A. Goodwin, Collector; H. T. Barnum, 
J. H. Bradley, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 4— Thomas Dunlap, Collector; J. S. Hill, J. 
S. Porter, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 5— Chas. D. Smith, Collector; W. W. Swadley 
R. C. Brown, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 6— A. P. Wood, Collector; J. T. Phelps, B. 
Nichols, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 7— M. B. Oliver, Collector; W. H. Jones, Jacob 
Emminger, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 8— S. A. Hawkins, Collector; O. Bonney, J. 
B. Marshall, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 9— D. N. McBeth, Collector; Geo. J. Newman, 
J. C. Ransom, Justices of the Peace. 


Township No. 1 .$11,349.11 

" 2 (for '63-' 64) 24,681.41 

" " 3 10,252.30 

" " 4 10,389.33 

" 5 6,674.34 

" 6 7,219.63 

" " 7 1.034.91 


For State purposes, on each 
Federal Tax 
Eoad Fund 
School purposes 
Hospital " 
Sierra Wagon road 

.50c— $2.29 



During this season the Court House, which was to 
cost $18,900, was swelled into a $50,000 structure, 
by the changes from the original plan, involving- 
stone basement and water tables, and stone steps 
in front and rear. 

March 3, 1863. — " Ordered (by the Supervisors) 
that the steps to the Court House be made of stone 
instead of brick, as specified in the original plan; 
also, that the balustrade of the steps be made of 
stone, and that the top step be made four feet 
wide." A special superintendent, Francis McGrath, 
was employed to measure and examine the work. 

Februaiy 3, 1864. — The Supervisors ordered a 
warrant to be drawn for $9,174.76, in favor of Mat. 
Canavan, assignee of Epley, Canavan, and Meloney, 
he having obtained a judgment in the District Court 
to that amount, as a balance due on the Court House 
contract. Farley and Armstrong, attorneys for the 
county, were allowed $500.00as fees. 

During 1863, townships eight and nine were 
organized east of the Sierra ISIevadas, out of terri- 
tory that was afterwards incorporated into Alpine 
county; also the election precincts of Silver Mount- 
ain, Mogul, Mineral City, and Markleeville. The 
uncertainty of the boundaries of these precincts, 
especially on the Calaveras side, was the source of 
much trouble until the final separation of the terri- 
tory from Amador county. Communication could 
only be maintained in the Summer months. In the 
Spring of 1864, the delegates attending the Conven- 
tions for nominating delegates to the Electoral Con- 
vention, came over by way of Placerville. The 
county of Alpine was created March 16, 1864, by 
Act of the Legislature, out of territory of El Dorado, 
Amador, and Calaveras. By this Act, the eastern 
boundary of Amador county was fixed at Hope 
valley, Kirkwood's house being just within Amador. 
Alpine county was to issue two warrants in favor 
of Amador, for $5,000 each, payable out of the gen- 
eral fund, and bearing interest at the rate of six 
per cent, per annum, payable in one and two years, 
as her part of the common debt. The two counties 
were made one district, for choosing Legislative 


Biennial instead of annual sessions of the Legis- 
lature having been established, and the election of 
members of the Legislature made to correspond in 
time with that of the county officers, there were no 
local interests to fan politics into the usual white 
heat; but the great questions of union and freedom, 
which had convulsed the nation for years, were still 
in abeyance and proved ample enough to arouse the 
highest feeling and bring out a full vote. The 
habitual leaders, having no inducements to accom- 
modate their sentiments to those of the public, were 
comparatively candid in expressing their opinions. 
At 'the Convention held to elect delegates to the 
Electoral State Convention, John Eagan, J. T. Farley, 
B. Stewart, Long Primer Hall, and A. H. Bose, 

opposed the prosecution of the war as unjust, uncon- 
stitutional, and inexpedient under any circumstances. 
The sentiment, afterwards incorporated into the 
National Democratic platform, that "four years of 
war having demonstrated the impossibility of con- 
quering the South, hostilities should cease, with a 
view of peaceable separation, if satisfactory terms 
of union could not be agreed upon," was generally 
advocated. M. W. Gordon, however, was opposed 
to acknowledging the independence of the Confed- 
eracy, under any circumstances, but believed the 
Union could be restored, only by employing Demo- 
cratic generals, under a Democratic Administration, 
with a Demoratic President. He would prefer 
Thomas H. Seymour, of Connecticut, for President, 
but would accept Grant, McClellan, or Sherman. 

These sentiments did not suit the majority of the 
Convention, but M. W. Gordon was a man of too 
much talent and ^influence to be slighted or left out 
in the cold, and J. T. Farley, with his usual skill and 
tact, advocated his having a place in the delegation. 
James Meehan, J.'T. Farley, M. W. Gordon, and B. 
Cosner, were sent from the county at large, and T. 

D. Wells, Lanning, Gerhard Sphon, Bobert Mc- 

Lellan, Dickinson, and J. W. Leslie, from the 

several townships. 

Those of our readers who are not old enough to 
remember the famous campaigns of " Tippecanoe 
and Tyler too," of 1840, may form some idea of that 
memorable affair, by the processions, bon-fires, and 
illuminations of this season. Every town had its 
turn, but, as usual in all such excitements, the active, 
the aggressive, swept the conservative away, and the 
Union demonstrations were the most brilliant and 
noisy. Long processions, Avith all trades and employ- 
ments in active operation, were the usual beginnings 
of a political meeting. Bail-splitting, tailoring, shoe- 
making, blacksmithing, weaving, printing, and every- 
thing that could be done on wheels, were made parts 
of the display. Abraham Lincoln split a lot of 
rails once, and the three or four stalwart men swine- 
ing the mauls, were sure to bring out the enthusiasm. 
There was a touch of the humorous in these dis- 
plays, which would have been enjoyable, but for the 
solemn fact, that a million of our noblest and best, 
were, at the moment, locked in a death struggle. 
The whole nation went on a frolic in 1840, but no 
such shadows of death rested on the people as in 
1864. But, as a politician expressed it, the party 
that could do the most of this work, would get the 
bulge, and it was done. 

vote of 1864. 

Presidential ticket — Bepublican, 1392; Demo- 
cratic, 1200. 

Congressional ticket — Higby (Bep.), 1390; Coffroth 
(Dem.), 1200. 


Township No. 1 — John Burke, Collector; J. G. 
High and T. Masterson, Justices of the Peace. 



Township No. 2— J. Farnsworth, Collector; J. 
Bo wen and < '. English, Justices of the Peace. 

Township No. 3 T. A G Iwin, Collector; II. T. 

Barnum ami II. Cook, Justices of the Peace. 

Township No. 4— I. N. Randolph, Collector; II. 
Wood and .1. S. Hill. Justices of the Peace. 

Township No. 5 — F. (orN.)King, Collector; .1. W. 
Morgan and \l. C. Brown Justices of the IVacc. 

Township No. 6— A. 1'. Wood, Collector; .1. W. 

Whitaker and B. Nichols, Justices of (lie Peace. 

Township No. 7— M. B. Oliver, Collector; R. 
Saunders and A. J. Lucas, .1 ustices of the Peace. 

At the judicial election in the Autumn of 1863, 
the average Republican majority was seven hundred, 
in a total vote of about three thousand. 


The rate of taxation for all purposes, made May 
7th, was three dollars and twenty-five cents on each 
hundred dollars. 

On the 7th of June, the Treasurer reported out- 
standing wan-ants over and above sums in the 
Treasury to apply on General Fund, $74,159.42; on 
Sierra Wagon Eoad Fund, $15,125.00; on Eoad fund, 
81,407.35; making a total of $90,751.77. 

This estimate does not include interest, which 
would swell the amount to $100,000. The extrav- 
agance of the two previous years, laid a foundation 
for the permanent debt. 

The following December the amount of the debt, 

exclusive of interest, was estimated at $111,139.94. 

Before the taxes were collected, it was apparent that 

the levy was insufficient to meet current expenses, 

and a new schedule was made out, as follows: — 

For State purposes on each §100 92c 

County " " 200c 

" General Fund " " 100c 

" Hospital '•' " " 25c 

" School " " " . . . . 20c 

Sierra Nevada Wagon Road " " 45c 

Redemption Road Fund " " 10c— $4 92 


Township No. 1 $ 9,597.71 

" 2 (for 1863-64).. 24,681.41 

" " 3 4,947.48 

" 4 9,701.93 

" 5... 6,879.10 

" 6 6,844.26 

" 7 1,014.24 

" "8") afterwards | 9,627.72 

'• 9 j Alpine Co. j 3,030.46 


This, the last year of the bitter strife, witnessed 
the most exciting scenes of all. The year opened 
with the defeat of the rebel armies in all quarters, 
and soon saw the sui'render of the last of them E 
Whether from indiscreet rejoicing on the part of 
the Republicans, or embittered feelings on the part 
of the Democrats, or both, the Democratic news- 
papers became more bitter and vituperative than 
ever. Public opinion was in a highly excited con- 
dition in consequence, and when the neAvs of the 
assassination of Lincoln was flashed across the Conti- 

neiii. the danger of riots, and destruction of life, and 
property, was imminent. II uman nature is much the 
same the world over. it is but two hundred 
years since our ancestors thought it expedient and 
right to burn, slay, destroy, torture, and harass, all 

who differed with them, either religiously or politi- 
cally, and. notwithstanding all our boasted improve- 
ment, the desire to do so is still an active element 
in our characters. The animus of the parties may 
best be shown by extracts from the papers. 

Dispatch, March •">. 1865: — 

"The first act of Lincoln's administration was 
stained by falsehood, and shortly afterwards by 
deliberate, palpable, tongue-blistering, soul-damning 
perjury." * * * 

"The first officer under our Government, whose 
moral conduct should reflect the virtues and dignity 
of a great country, and be an example for all classes 
of people to imitate, stands before the world with 
the brand of perjury upon his brow!" 

" The rebels fi^ht for the priceless boon of liberty 
as did their fathers of the Revolution; the merce- 
naries of the federal army, for Government green- 

March 12, 1805:— 

"If to sympathize with a brave and gallant peo- 
ple who are struggling to throw off the yoke of a 
merciless despot, * * * be secessionism, then we 
are secessionists." 

March 26, 1S65:— 

"Abraham Lincoln, the self-confessed perjurer; 
* * * the buffoon; the vulgar joker; the spiritu- 
alist; the abolitionist; the man who believes the 
negro his equal." 


A company of cavalry had been stationed in lone 
valley to eject settlers from the Arroyo Seco grant. 
After the assassination of Lincoln, persons were 
arrested in different parts of the State for sympathy 
with the Rebellion, or for treasonable expressions. 
The Dispatch had been one of the ablest and most 
outspoken Democratic papers in the State, and 
although not coming within the boundaries of giving 
" substantial aid and comfort to the enemy," it had 
advocated the right, if not the policy, of secession; 
bad eulogized the President and officers of the Con- 
federate States; had abused the Union President in 
severe terms, and had, in fact, been a magazine of 
Southern ideas and arguments, on Northern soil.. 
Some of the ablest articles in defense of the South bad 
come out in the Dispatch; in fact, there was no writer 
in the county, on the Union side of the question, 
that was a match for the editor of the Dispatch. It 
was quite natural that the wrath of the Union men 
should seek victims in the editors and writers of the 
paper, though it was not charged that it had ever 
sanctioned the assassination of Lincoln. On the 
morning of the 8th of May, about daylight, the 
persons mentioned awoke to find themselves sur- 
rounded by a troop of cavalry under the command 
of Captain Starr, acting presumably, under the com- 
mand of General McDowell, at San Francisco. The 
printing office was closed up, and two or three hours 


'-AvAV-' '...•■'/■'' 

, if"" > -■ 





afterwards the entire party left for Camp Jackson, in 
lone valley, our friends walking through the hot 
sand, with the thermometer at 100° in the shade. 
From thence they were taken in irons to Fort Alca- 
traz, where an eighteen-pound ball with chain, was 
attached to the legs of each man. They had the 
choice of hard labor on the works, under guard, or 
confinement in the sweat-box, and wisely chose the 
former. They were kept here, in company with 
other sympathizers, until about the middle of the 
following month, when peace, law, and order were 
so far established, that it was considered safe for 
them to be at large. It is said that neither of the 
men ever had the remotest suspicion of the cause of 
their incarceration ! 

In justice to the Dispatch and its conductors, it 
must be said that they picked up the cudgels of war- 
fare at the place where they dropped them at the 
time of the arrest, and when they resumed the pub- 
lication of the paper, which they did on the 23d of 
September following, it had lost none of the vigor 
which characterized it through the four years of the 
great Rebellion. 

L. P. Hall, who was arrested with Penry, was one 
of the most original men ever connected with the 
press in Amador county, or, perhaps, in the State. 
He was able to stand up to the case and set up his most 
vituperative articles without manuscript, a feat that 
few editors or printers are capable of. He was 
thoroughly aggressive in his character, and if he had 
been on " Southern Soil " at the time of the breaking 
out of the Rebellion, his temperament would have 
been as likely to have carried him into the ojtposition 
as anywhere. He was previously the editor of the 
Equal Rights Expositor, at Visalia, a paper as pro- 
nounced in its disloyal sentiments as the Dispatch. It 
was suppressed by the order of General McDowell, 
and the editor, and three others arrested with him, 
set free on taking the following oath: — 
State or California, 
County of Tulare. 

We, L. P. Hall, - of Tulare, State of 

California, Citizens of the United States, do solemnly 
swear that we will support the Constitution and Gov- 
ernment of the United States against all enemies, 
whether foreign or domestic, and that we will 
bear true faith and allegiance, and loyalty to the 
same, &\\y ordinance, resolution, or any Slate Con- 
vention or law of any Legislature to the contrary, 
notwithstanding; that we will give no aid, assistance 
or encouragement, by word or act, to any person or 
persons, or pretended Government, engaged in 
rebellion against the Government of the United 
States. And further, that we will do this with a 
full determination, pledge, and purpose, without 
any mental reservation whatsoever, so help us God. 
• (Signed) L. P. Hall, * 

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this fifth day of 
January, 1863. M. A. McLaughlin, 

Cop'ain 2d Cavalry, C . V., Commanding. 

Whatever difference of opinion may have existed 
with regard to his course as an editor, there was 
none with regard to his ability. 

John Gaver, of Sutter Creek, who had written 
many of the articles in the Dispatch, was arrested 
about the same time, and subjected to the same 
treatment. He was charged with rejoicing over the 
assassination, which, however, he denied, or asserted, 
that if he did, he was drunk, and unconscious of 
what he said. He was arrested on complaint of 
O. L. Chamberlain, F. Tibbetts, and T. Frakes. 

After the assassination of Lincoln, more than one 
Union meeting was held to consider the expediency 
of demolishing the Dispatch establishment, but better 
counsels prevailed. It is quite likely, however, that 
the arrest of Penry and Hall, and the suppression of 
the paper for awhile, saved the material from 
destruction. The excitement gradually wore away, 
and better feeling began to prevail. 

seaton's defection. 

There was a full set of county officers, as well as 
members of the Legislature, to elect, and the politi- 
cians set about arranging these matters. The national 
question having to some extent been settled, per- 
sonal ambitions and antipathies began to be more 
manifest. When the Republican Convention met, 
R. Burnell was nominated, after some opposition, as 
candidate for Senator. G. W. Seaton, who had been 
acting Avith the Republican party for years, arose 
and denounced Burnell as having tried to throw the 
State into the hands of the secessionists, by voting 
for giving the seat to a Democrat in a contested 
election case. This affair had happened some years 
before, and, if true, Burnell was only voting to 
decide who was elected, the politics of the man, 
properly, having nothing to do with his right to a 
seat. It is likely that personal antipathy was the 
ruling motive, for Mr. Seaton had supported Burnell 
in Convention and on the stump, after the occur- 
rence of the contested election case; but, at any 
rate, he announced his intention of defeating Mr. 
Burnell if it cost ten thousand dollars. As he had a 
very rich quartz vein just then to draw on for funds, 
the threat was very serious. He immediately 
announced himself as an independent candidate for 
Senator, and took the stump. The Democrats left 
the nomination for the Senatorship vacant, with the 
understanding that Seaton's name was to be used. 
The contest of course was very spirited, Seaton's 
gold mine being a powerful influence in his favor. 
It is not supposed that votes were directly pur- 
chased, but mone3 T , which Seaton had in abundance, 
would purchase fire-works, orators, music, gun-pow- 
der, and whisky, which certainly have the power of 
moving many people in their political opinions. 

It is generally believed too, that in the early days 
the Italian vote was practically purchasable, that 
is to say, that from fifteen hundred to twenty-five 
hundred dollars would buy the influence of one or 
two men. who would control the greater portion of 
the Italian vote, which was numerous enough to 
decide, in many cases, the election. (It is said, now, 


; There were three other signatures. 



by thoso best acquainted with the Italians, that that 
condition no longer exists; that individual indepen- 
dence is becoming as common with them as with 
other nationalities.) When the contest was over, 
Soaton was elected. Amador and Alpine had 
remained one district for the election of members of 
the Legislature, Alpine being allowed one member 
and Amador the other three. O. F. Thornton and 
Harvey Lee were candidates by the respective 

parties, Republican and Democratic of Alpine 
county — Leo being elected. The following table of 
the returns will bo interesting, as not only showing 
the mimes and popularity of the different candidates, 
but also as showing the names of many precincts 
which were abolished when the registry law was 
established, this election being the last held under 
the old law : — 






























S enators. 

Assemblymen . . . 


County Clerk. . . . 



District Attorney 
Supt. Schools. . . . 
Pub. Adminis'or. 



Sup. Dist. No. 1. 

R. Buruell 

G. W. Seaton. . 
M. Frink 

0. F. Thornton 
Harvey Lee. 
A. C. Brown. 

1. N. Randolph 
R. Cosner. . . 
J. A. Robinson 
J. C. Shipman 
M. J. Goodrich 
A. C. Hinkson. 
Otto Walther.. 
L. Rabolt 

j R. M. Briggs . . 
( J. A. Eagon. .. 
j D. Townsend . . 
( S. G-. Briggs . . . 
\ H. Robinson . . 

I M. Tynan 

j J. M. Griffith.. 
/ T. C. Stowers. . 

j V. Stacy 

{ C. Boarman . . . 

( C. Ingalls 

/ James Carroll.. 










































































































































































































































































































































































1 33 




It is difficult to gather the facts in the matter of 
the counting of the votes. There was much ill- 
feeling about it, and many charges of fraud, and 
much filing and counter-filing of protests. Judge 
Badgely asked that the Supervisor votes for District 
No. 1 be canvassed, which was refused. The two 
candidates were James Carroll and C. Ingalls. The 
custom had prevailed, whether lawful or not, of 
holding elections in the camps in Arizona and Utah, 
where the volunteers from Amador were stationed, 
and returning their votes as from a precinct. Though 
these soldiers were known to be of both parties, the 
returns were generally all one way. It was alleged 
by the Democrats that no fair election was held; 
that the officers made out the returns to suit them- 
selves. The Democrats further urged that voting 
in Arizona for officers in Amador, was carrying the 
doctrine of constructive residence a little too far; 
that it was unconstitutional. The Republican argu- 
ments in favor of counting their votes, were rather 
necessity and expediency, than law. They showed 

the absurdity of the Union men all going to the 
war, and having no voice in the choice of officers, 
and leaving the secessionists in the rear to rule; and 
the votes were counted, though protests were filed 
by D. Worley, John Eagon, A. C. Brown, Henry Lee, 
James Carroll, R. M. Bradshaw, and John Surface. 

There were also other irregularities. At Clinton, 
D. B. Spagnoli acted both as Inspector and Clerk. 
There was no appearance of fraud in the matter, 
though the proceeding was evidently illegal. Here 
was a chance for a contest. The vote was generally 
six Republican, and sixty-four Democratic, making 
a difference of fifty-eight votes. If the soldiers' vote 
was rejected and Clinton accepted, most of the 
Democrats would be elected, otherwise, most of the 
Republicans. J. W. Armstrong, now a noted law- 
yer in Sacramento, then a young man, taking his 
first flights in law and logic, contended for the 
legality of the Clinton proceeding, and asserted the 
principle, that the statute permitted what it did not 
prohibit. The returns from Lower Rancheria hav- 
ing no certificate attached, were rejected. 




State Senator — G. W. Seaton. 

Members of Assembly — M. Frink, H. Lee. 

Sheriff— E. Cosner. 

County Clerk — J. C. Shipman. 

Recorder — A. C. Hinkson. 

Treasurer— Otto Walther: 

County Surveyor — T. C. Stowers. 

District Attorney — E. JV1. Briggs. 

Superintendent of Schools — S. G. Briggs. 

Coroner — J. Boarman. 

Public Administrator- — M. Tynan. 

Supervisor District No. 1 — C. Ingalls. 


No. 1 — John Burke, Collector; E. Turner, Thomas 
Jones, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 2— J. W. Surface, Collector; Wm. H. Scudder, 
Wm. Shelley, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 3 — E. M. Bradshaw, Collector; H. T. Barnum, 
George S. Fake, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 4 — Thomas Dunlap, Collector; C. K. Johnson, 
P. Cook, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 5.— D. Worley, Collector; E. C. Brown, G. 
Devore, Justices of the Peace. 

No. 6— A. P. Wood, Collector; W. W. Swadley, 
H. D. Ford, Justices of the Peace. 



This was caused by the explosion of the steamer 
To Semite, October 12, 1865, between Sacramento 
and San Francisco, W. A. Eogers, of Jackson, being 
killed at the same time. A more particular account 
of his life will be given in the account of the Amador 
Bar. This accident necessitated the calling of another 
election, which was fixed on the 2d of December. 
A. H. Eose was nominated by the Democrats and O. 
N. Morse by the Eepublicans. 

Quartz again, as was said, influenced the election. 
Eose had money to loan where it would do him good. 
The M. E. Church Society at lone borrowed some 
$1,500. It was not charged that this purchased any 
votes, but having shown a disposition to accommo- 
date the church, he was a good man and ought to be 
supported. He also obtained quite a support from 
the recently ejected settlers in lone, inducing them 
to think that Congress could be persuaded to remun- 
erate them by a memorial which he promised to get 
through the Legislature. His part of the contract 
he fulfilled; the memorial, containing a concise, well- 
written history of the Arroyo Seco grant, being trans- 
mitted to Congress with the official seal of the State 
on it. These things are not related to cast reflec- 
tions on Mr. Eose's method of conducting the canvass, 
but to show, as a soldier would, how battles are lost 
and won. 

The returns showed the following result: A. II. 
Eose, 1,342; O. H. Morse, 1,099. 

H. Lee, the member from Alpine county, was killed 
some months after by being thrown from a buggy. 

Miner Frink's seat was contested by A. C. Brown, 
who received but two or three votes less in the elec- 
tion than Frink. Brown proved that two or three 
illegal votes were cast for Frink, and obtained the 

Frink afterward got a position in the office of 
Internal Eevenue, but a year or two later, was 
found dead in his bed at the hotel, in San Francisco. 


The tax levy for 1865 was — 

For State purposes on each §100 $1 15 

General Fund " " 1 00 

Amador Wagon Eoad " " 40 

Hospital Fund " " 25 

School Fund " " 30 

Redemption Eoad Fund " " 10— $3.20 

In February, the outstanding warrants were 

reported as being — 

On General Fund $74,308.18 

Hospital Fund 11,619.71 

Wagon Eoad Fund 9,918.55 

Redemption Fund 185.27-^96.031.71 

This did not include interest which was then accu- 
mulating at the rate of about ten thousand dollars 
per year, which would have carried the debt up to 
about one hundred and thirty thousand dollars. 

This season the famous warrant, No. 103, was 
liquidated, the balance due being $7,556.16. 


E. G. Hunt was appointed to examine the state 
of the finances, and reported receipts from all 
sources, from March, 1864, to December, 1865, as 

follows: — 

Credited to General Fund $61,907.48 

State '.' ...... 5S.751.63 

School " 17,643.39 

" Hospital " 10,905.04 

Eoad " 3.32S.28 

« Sierra W. E 13,906.57— $166,442.39 

Taxes assessed in 1864 amounted to $75,753.20; 
delinquent, $15,072.26; making a net of $60,680.94. 


Politics in 1 S66— Financial Matters — Eabolt Declared Ineligible 
to the Office of Treasurer, and Otto Walther Appointed — 
Political Parties in 1567— New Eegistry Law— Election 
Eeturns Showing the New Precincts — Judiciary Election — 
Financial Matters — Financial Matters in 1868 — Contest for 
Supervisor in the First District — Ingalls Declared Unseated 
— Carroll Installed — Act of the Legislature in Eeference 
Thereto — Wealth and Population — Political Parties in 1868, 
— Election Eeturns by Precincts — Politics in 1869 — Election 
Eeturns by Precincts. 

The year 1866 opened with little attention to 
politics. No elections occurring this season, the 
strife was over the far away subjects of reconstruc- 
tion, taxing bonds, and negro suffrage, which did 
not immediately concern the people. 

June 2d, the Treasurer reported outstanding war- 
rants as follows: — 



On General Fund J83.343.93 

Hospital Fund 13,342.40 

Road Fund 3.569.3J 

To tliis must be added the bonds of the 
Sierra Nevada WagonBoad,amount- 
ingto 0,000.00— SlOG/i.-.").!; i 

This docs not include interest, which, since 1863, 
has been steadily accumulating, at the rare of ten 
thousand dollars yearly. 

December 1st, the outstanding warrants were 

reported as — 

On General Fund $92,229.30 

Wagon Road Fund 4,860.86 

Hospital Fund 14,01)8.00— $111,788.16 

No mention made of interest. 

The assessment roll was reported at SI, 874,817.75; 
taxes on same, $58,6S5.70. 

L. Rabolt, who had been elected Treasurer the 
previous season, Avas declared ineligible to the posi- 
tion, on the ground that he was not a citizen; and 
the office being vacant, Otto Walther was appointed 
to fill it. 


The election of State and county officers, as well 
as members of Congress, caused the politicians to 
set their standards early in the field. 

H. H. Haight was nominated for Governor by 
the Democrats, and George C. Gorham, by the 
Republicans. Higby and Coffroth, both representa- 
tive men from the mines, were put forth by the 
Republicans and Democrats respectively, for Con- 
gress. The failure to impeach Andrew Johnson, 
which project was a Republican measure, had given 
the Democrats courage everywhere in the county, 
State, and nation. The Democrats had, to some 
extent, adopted his financial views about the pay- 
ment, or rather, non-payment of the national debt; 
and the traveling orators, including Farley and Cof- 
froth, roundly asserted, not only the right, but the 
expediency of taxing national bonds, while Edger- 
ton, and other Republican speakers, as roundly 
denied it, and referred to numerous decisions of the 
Supreme Court, establishing the non-taxability of 
national securities. The bitterness of war times 
was evidently passing away. The discussion of 
financial questions involved figures rather than feel- 
ings; and not every one was capable of entering 
into the spirit of large numbers. Bloated bond- 
holders and prospective negro suffrage, all could 
understand, and a general interest, rather than the 
intense bitterness of former years, marked the cam- 

The following table will show the relative strength 
of the parties, and the names of the new polling 
places under the registration law, which, though 
somewhat difficult to put into operation, worked to 
the general satisfaction of the public. Under the 
old form of election, any out-of-the-way place could 
get up a precinct. A poll list was kept, it is true, 
but so loosely, that a man might vote in several 
places, or several times a day, without detection. 
Unnaturalized foreigners were voted in some places, 

by the dozens. Men were chosen for judges and 
inspectors, who could hardly read; and it was pos- 
sible to make up a general result only by condoning 
a multitude of mistakes and irregularities. 



Lieut. Governor 
Congressmen . . . 



County Clerk 



District Attorney 



Public Administ' 
Supt. Schools 

1 H. H. Haght, (D .). 

■ \ Goo. C. Gorham, (H.) 
I Win. Holden, (D.). ... 

• "( John P. Jones, (IO. . 

I J. W. Coffroth, (D.).. 
■\ Win. Higbv, (It.) ... 

(\. B. Gregory, (D.). . 
J Geo. M. Payne, (U.). . 

• ) Chas. D. Smith, (U.). 
(.William Pearson, (R.) 
I Geo. Durham, (D.).. 

' i Samuel Smith. (It.). . 
j A. C Hinkson, (D.).. 

■ \ A. F. Northrop, (It.), 
j D. B. Spagnoli, (D.). . 

• I Ph. Seibenthaler, (R.) 
| Jame^ Meehan, (D.). . 

' \ Henry Ginnoehio, (R.) 
i H. L. Waldo, (D.J... 

• 1 R. M. Br:ggs, (R.). . . 
J A. Specr, (D.) 

• ( Sam Loree, (It.) 

( Chas. Boarman. (D.) 

•1 W. E. Fifield, (It.)... 

I W. A. Few, (D.) . . . 

I G. L. Bratilv, (R.). . . 

S. G. Briggs, (D.) . . 

J. D. Mason, (R.) 


- - 

147 280 

124 237 

144 287 
137 245 

143 286 
135 218 
154 286 

154 2SG 

131 24S 

132 245 
143 282 

141 253 

142 286 
135 246 

125 236 

155 296 
154 294 
137 246 

145 288 
137 246 
145 283 

. 134 248 
40& 145 283 
246 138 249 
. H4 291 
282 134 215 
4C3 134 291 
253' 147 241 



























































































13. .8 

The entire Democratic ticket was elected with the 
exception of Seibenthaler, for County Clerk, who 
was chosen by a small majority. It was currently 
reported, and believed by many, that Otto AValther, 
who became acting County Clerk, owed his election 
to a commercial transaction rather than to political 
preferences. If it was so, it was so quietly done that 
no member of a Grand Jury ever got an inkling of it. 

The Collectors and Assessors for 1867 were — 

Township No. 1 — N. M. Bowman. 

Township No. 2— J. W. Surface. 

Township No. 3 — J. Foster. 

Township No. 4 — Thomas Dunlap. 

Township No. 5— J. T. Maffitt. 

Township No. 6 — F. L. Sullivan. 

At the judiciary election, J. Foot Turner, Repub- 
lican, was re-elected over J. T. Phelps, Democrat, by a 
large majority. This apparent change in the polit- 
ical cast of the vote was explained by the fact that 
Judge Turner never was an active politician, and 
was supported by persons of both parties. 


January, 1867, the reported outstanding warrants, 
over and above the funds on hand to meet them, 
was — 

On General Fund $94,761 74 

Hospital Fund 13,691 53-^108,453 27 

The Wagon Road Fund was $122.19 in excess of 
liability. This did not take into account the fifth 
bond which matured during the year, as the next 
report mentions it with the accrued interest, amount- 
ing to $5,510. In this estimate no mention is made 
of the interest which is steadily increasing. 




BmrraN arw*v, j.r. 




For State Fund, on each $100 §1 13 

General Fund " " 1 00 

Wagon Road Fund " 30 

Hospital Fund " 25 

School Fund " 35 

In March the total indebtedness, exclusive of inter- 
est, was reported at 884,110.01. How it was reduced 
$24,000 since January does not appear. 

March 12, 1867, John Burke, Collector of Town- 
ship No. 1, was declared defaulter to the amount of 
nine hundred and eighty-three dollars, by A. C. 
Hinkson, County Auditor, for which act, as well as 
other improper transactions, he was removed, and J. 
M.Griffith appointed in his place. Among other things, 
Burke was charged with making out receipts with 
pencil, and collecting money thereon, and afterwards 
procuring the receipts again for a trifle, erasing the 
name and amount, and using them again, or return- 
ing them to the Board of Supervisors as unused. 


Rate of taxes for State purposes on each §100 $1.00 

General Fund, " ;< 60 

Hospital Fund, " " 25 

School Fund, " " 35— §2.20 

March 3d, the outstanding warrants were 

General Fund $87,074.97 

Hospital Fund 11.403.20— $98,478.17 

Exclusive of interest!! 

The Supervisors making this report were C. ln- 
galls, L. McLaine and D. M. Goff. James Carroll 
was afterward declared by Judge Brockway entitled 
to the seat occupied by C. Ingalls for nearly three 
years. Many rumors were in circulation of a bar- 
gain between Carroll and Ingalls, that the latter 
should allow himself to be ousted that the former 
might draw a salary for the whole term; at any rate, 
Carroll presented a bill for $1,665.50, salary lor the 
full term, which was allowed by the Supervisors, but 
payment was stopped by means of an injunction 
served on the Treasurer by District Attorney Waldo. 
In 1872 the Legislature ordered the Supervisors of 
Amador county to draw a warrant for $1,050 as back 
salary, H. Waldo, John Eagon, and J. T. Farley 
being members for Amador county. Since the allow- 
ance was made by the Supervisors, lines in ink have 
been drawn through the minutes as if for erasure. 
Carroll took his seat July 6th; the allowance was 
made August 3d, following. 


According to reports were as follows: Real estate, 
$962,284; improvements, $247,549; personal property, 
$527,625; total, $1,737,458. Population, 11,400; 
registered votes, 2,552. 


There being no local officers to elect, this was the 
off year in politics. The county officers, securely 
fixed in their seats for a year, rested serenely on their 
comfortable salaries. Some of the politicians and 
orators, scenting places in the Custom House or office 
of internal revenue, put on their armor, loaded their 

mental guns with the heaviest shot, and plunged into 
the thickest of* the fight, making a great smoke and 
noise whether they hit anybody or not. 

The State had been divided into Congressional 
Districts so that but a single Congressman was to be 
voted for. Coffroth and Sargent, Democratic and 
Republican candidates respectively, stumped the dis- 
tricts, taking Amador county in their course. The 
questions of payment of the national debt, the taxa- 
tion of the bonds, and the reconstruction of the 
Southern States, again came before the people. 
Grant, the Republican nominee for President, was 
reviewed, and, as was to be expected, was bitterly 
assailed and as warmly defended. The danger of 
electing soldiers to office was heldup to view. Many 
professed to believe that he would, with the aid of 
the army, make himself Emperor; that in case he 
was elected he would be the last President the United 
States would ever have; that in a short time we 
should have an order of hereditary nobility estab- 
lished. Others professed to think Grant only alucky 
fool, who would be the tool of designing politicians; 
that he was not much of a General anyhow; that 
Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, Logan and others 
whipped the Rebellion. On the other hand Seymour 
was represented as heartless, treacherous and un- 
worthy. The microscope was turned on him and 
every possible mistake of his life magnified into a 
monstrous crime. His treatment of the New York 
rioters at the time of the draft was made construc- 
tive treason. "He ought to have turned loose the 
dogs of war on the rioters; ought never to have 
addressed them calling them his friends." Illustrated 
editions of the New York riots in which brutal Irish- 
men were slaying defenseless negro orphan children 
were everywhere circulated; in short, the old, old 
stories, told every year from the time of Jefferson 
down, were brought out, colored and re-shaped to 
suit the times and persons, so that they were almost 
as good as new. Strangers to our country and its 
style of conducting a campaign, whether national or 
local, would imagine that we were on the eve of 



Jackson -- 

lone City 

Lancha Plana .- 

Clinton . — 




Sutter Creek 


Drytown . 

Forest Home -- 

Total ----- 

Democratic majority 






















1 JO 


anarchy, a general breaking up of all order and indus- 
tries; but the elections pass away, the people, satisfied 
with masquerading, return to their avocations and 
prosperity continues. 


A full set of county officers to be elected, set things 
to going early. The interest was the most intense 
in the Democratic party as being the most likely to 
win, though much of the work was given to obtaining 
the nominations. 

The railroad question began to be agitated this year, 
the question of regulating fares and freights having 
become an element in politics. To what extent, if 
any, candidates were supplied with the material for 
making a successful campaign, by pledging them- 
selves, will always be a matter of mystery. The 
Democrats, as usual, elected their whole ticket. It 
will be observed that the township system was 
discontinued, a County Assessor and Collector being 


Township No. 1 — E. Turner, J. S. Campbell. 
Township No. 2 — Charles Walker, William Shelby. 
Township No. 3 — Louis Miller, Louis Ludiken. 
Township No. 4 — C. K. Johnson, U. Nurse. 
Township No. 5— M. B. Church, C. D. Smith. 
Township No. 6— E. R. Yates, F. Shearer. 



J. T. Farley, (D.) 

M. W. Gordon, (R.) 


A. C. Brown, (D.) 

J. M. Johnson, (D.) 

Wm. Jennings . 

- — Folger 


Geo. Durham, (D.) 

Foster, (R.) 


D. B. Spagroli, (D.) 

B. F. Richtmyer, (R.) 


James Meehan, (D.) 

F. McBride. (R.) 


H. L. Waldo, (D..) 

E. G. Hunt, (R.) 


James Surface, (D.) 



A. Yoak , 

W. T. Wildman 


S. G. Brings 

E. B. Mclntyre 

78 125 

19 1U4 




20 104 

25S 181 
142 155 










































































































Condition of the County at the Beginning of the Third Decade — 
Statistics of the Wealth and Indebtedness — Politics in 1870 
— Financial Condition — Redemption Fund — Condition of 
Other Counties — The .Miners' League — Death of MeMenemy 
and Hatch — Political Parties in 1872 — Election Returns by 
Precincts, 1871 — Persons Elected in 1871 — Financial Mat- 
ters 1872 — Political Parties in 1872 — Election Returns for 
1872 — Comparison of Vote with Previous Years — Financial 
Matters, 1873 — Political Parties in 1873 — John Eagon's Posi- 
tion — Judge Gordon's Stand — J. T. Farley's Position — Elec- 
tion Returns by Precincts— Officers Elected in 1873 — Alpine 
county Left out in the Election — Financial Matters in 1874 
— The Funding Project — Political Parties in 1874 — Financial 
Matters in 1875 — Robbery of the Treasury May 9, 1875 — 
Conclusion of Butterfield Matter in 1877 — Political Matters 
in 1875 — Officers elected in 1875. 

According to the reports of the Assessor the value 
of all property, personal and real, was $2,241,070. 
The county debt had been estimated as being less 
than $100,000, but as was written in the previous 
chapters of the history, it was constantly increasing, 
the sums paid not being equal to the interest, and con- 
sequently no portion was applied to the payment of 
the principal. At the beginning of this decade the 
debt was nearly, if not quite, $200,000. It seems to 
be the fate of political organizations, as well as of 
individuals, to go into extravagant and wasteful 
expenditure in prosperous times, and pay up when 
times are hard. At the beginning of 1860 we found 
placer mining remunerative to a high degree; quartz 
mining established on a paying basis and agriculture 
and horticulture profitably employing a great num- 
ber of men. The farms on the Mokelumne river, in 
Jackson, lone and Dry Creek valleys, as well as on 
the heads of the latter creeks, with their waving 
fields of grain, orchards, and vineyards, were all that 
could be desired. 

Many causes combined to arrest this tide of pros- 
perity. The Frazer river excitement drew away a 
great many miners. Still later the discovery of the 
Washoe mines caused another outflow of hundreds 
of able, industrious men. The copper excitement 
took a great many away from moderately profitable 
work; and, when copper failed in the subsequent 
years to prove remunerative, at least five hundred 
men were set adrift, most of whom left the county 
in search of some more promising place. During 
the years of 1861-64, the price of cattle of all 
kinds Went down with a panic, so that many, who 
considered themselves well fixed, became poor men. 
The wine business, which promised so much, had 
proved an utter failure, every attempt to market the 
wine in the East resulting in loss; so that many per- 
sons Avere induced to tear up their vineyards and 
give up the business. The orchards, which pro- 
duced a great quantity of the finest fruit, were also 
poor property; for the emigration of many of the 
miners left no market for such products. The quartz 
mining alone" saved the county from comparative 
poverty. The mines along the mother lodes, as well 
as in the eastern part of the county, on the Yolcano 



range, gave employment to perhaps one thousand 
men. Some of the mines, such as the Lincoln, 
Mahoney and Hay ward at Sutter Creek, and others at 
Diytown, Amador, and Plymouth, took out sums 
varying from ten thousand to sixty thousand dol- 
lars per month. Large quantities of wood and lum- 
ber were required, which furnished labor to as many 
more men as were engaged in the mines. 

With all this there was little increase in the pop- 
ulation and prospective wealth. The vote, which in 
1860 had closely reached four thousand, in ten years 
was reduced to about two thousand, though there 
was no decrease in population in proportion to the 
vote, as the roving part was composed mostly of 
men without families. 

The gradual improvement in financial standing, 
through wise management, and a gradual and 
healthy growth in all the business industries of the 
country will appear as the third decade passes away. 


As to the comparative wealth and population will be 
interestina;: — 

Population in 1S70. 

in I860.* 






























1344 1822 










27 12 '2098 









1545 15-7 









1214 1022 
























1 10930 














In making these estimates the Government gave 
the township the name of the largest town. 

1870 1860 

Assessed value of Real Estate $1,167,525 
'• Pers. Property 785,419 

Total J $1,952,944 $2,395,684- 

True value $4,428,490 

$19,944 $28,855.90 

-.- $29,293 

State Taxes... 
County Taxes. 


County Debt 

Improved Land (in acres).. 
Unimproved kL '■ 

Cash value of Farms 

" " Farm Impl'ts. . .. 
" •' Orchard Products 
'• ' : Farm " 

• " Market Gardens. . 

'• " Manufactories 

'• " Animals for Food 

•• •• Live Stock. 

2s T umber of Horses 


Milch Cows 

" Working Oxen _ . 
" Other Cattle 















1,471 ) 

2,497 ) 



- 9,633 

There is a slight discrepancy in the census returns . 

Number of Sheep 23,914 3,990 

" Swine 5,380 

Bushels of Wheat raised 16,678 39,000 

Corn " 36,370 19,000 

Barley " 51,815 31,175 

" Potatoes " 9,988 9,200 

" Sweet " 1,060 

Pounds of Wool 73.010 

Gals. Wine made 54,165 

Pounds of Butter 43,700 

Cheese 950 

Gals. Milk sold... 1,600 

Tons Hay raised... 5,908 3,000 

Pounds of Hops 12,050 

" Honey 2,520 

Quartz Mills 33 27 

Tons of Rock crushed 61,736 70,360 


This was a year of quiet, as neither national, State, 
or county officers were to be elected. The mutter- 
ings of the storm, that was prevailing in the East, 
were but little heeded in the off years. It took the 
loaves and fishes of the county offices to arouse the 
politicians to a full sense of the dangers impending 
over our Constitution, our country or our race. No 
livery teams were hired to carry the men, ambitious 
to serve their country in easy, lucrative offices, around 
to alarm the people. No twenty-dollar pieces were 
left at the saloons to pay for beer doled out where it 
would do the most good. In fact, everything was dis- 
tressingly dull, and the people were allowed to attend 
quietly to their business. 


Nobody knew exactly how it stood. It is true 
that quarterly returns were made by the Sheriff, 
Auditor, Treasurer, and Supervisors, and occasion- 
ally the Grand Jury would have a spasm of economy 
and make an inquiry into the financial condition; but 
who among the Grand Jurors had time to look over 
the stubs of the outstanding warrants, to see for 
what purpose, or when they were drawn, or how 
much interest had accumulated, or whether even the 
interest had been paid! A few persons were con- 
scious of the painful uncertainty and to these the 
county is indebted for the arrangements which not 
only brought the accumulating debt to view, but pro- 
vided means for its gradual liquidation. 


As early as February 7th the Supervisors, L. Mc- 
Laine, Henry Peck, and D. M. Goff, took the matter 
under consideration and recommended a plan which, 
however, was said to have been first suggested by 
James Meehan, the Treasurer, that sixty cents on 
each one hundred dollars should be raised to be used 
as a sinking fund for outstanding registered war- 
rants. Meehan went to Sacramento and personally 
solicited the support of the members not interested 
in the matter, his position as Treasurer enabling him 
to explain the necessity of some such measure, to 
prevent the county from becoming bankrupt. Messrs. 



Farley and Brown, Senator and Assemblyman 

respectively. ably supported the Hill, and on the 12th 
of March ii became a law. It provided a sinking 
fund of sixty cents on each one hundred dollars 
which was sacred for this purpose; also that no war- 
rant should be drawn unless (here was money to 
meet it; a certificate of indebtedness, bearing no 
interest, being given when occasion demanded. 
Though the sum specially assessed was sufficient to 
check the accumulation of interest, and also assisted 
materially in bringing to light the different items, it 
was not until December 3, 1872, that the full amount 
of liabilities was known and reported, the debt having 
been estimated at one hundred and sixty-five thou- 
sand dollars. To anticipate the result it was then 
reported that the outstanding warrants 

On General Fund with interest was. . .$157,126 02 
On Hospital Fund, " "... 38,007 33 

On New Certificates not bearing interest 13,7513 23— $208,884 58. 


About this time, general attention was attracted 
towards some of the older mining counties, which, 
in former years, had contained much the largest 
share of the population. At one time, El Dorado 
county, now numbering less than ten thousand 
inhabitants, had fifty thousand. Tuolumne, Cala- 
veras, and some others, also showed a great reduc- 
tion. In Calaveras, the condition was much worse 
than in Amador. The population reduced to less 
than ten thousand; the assessment roll yearly 
decreasing; the debt, principal and interest, con- 
stantly accumulating, so that five per cent, taxes 
was hardly sufficient to meet current expenses, was 
a condition calculated to depress and crush out all 
industrial energy. It was known that stock-men, 
who grazed their flocks in the mountains of Cala- 
veras, would hold them in other counties, where the 
rates of taxation were lower, until the time for 
assessing was past, before they would drive them 
to their pastures. A tax rate as high as five per 
cent, was considered as a mortgage for all the prop- 
erty was worth. Things were looking so serious 
that the Legislature felt called upon to investigate 
the matter before the question of State' responsibility 
for county indebtedness, should meet them in the 
shape of a judgment. 

In making these investigations, Amador was con- 
sidered one of the counties possibly requiring the 
aid of the State. Happily, it has passed any such 
probable contingency. 


Any history of Amador county which failed to 
give an account of the Miners' League, would be 
lamentably deficient. This Society organized as a 
kind of mutual benefit association. It does not 
appear that any unlawful measures were at first 
contemplated; but organization gave the members 
an idea of strength and influence. Merchants joined 
the league, for fear of losing the trade of the miners; 

politicians, to make a few votes; and the lawless and 
desperate, to work against law and order in society, 
in Sutter Creek, it numbered about three hundred 
members, composed of Irish, Cornishmen, Austrians, 
and Italians, and had a membership of perhaps as 
man}- more in other parts of the county. They 
built a large hall, costing several thousand dollars. 
Luke Burns, who had had some experience in simi- 
lar associations in Virginia City, was President, and 
L. J. Marks, Secretary. 

The immediate cause of the outbreak was the 
reduction of twenty-five cents a day on the wages 
of the hands working on the surface, in the Consoli- 
dated Amador mine. After much discussion a gen- 
eral strike was agreed upon, also a determination to 
enforce it everywhere, and not permit the working 
of the mines unless at the proposed rates. The 
schedule of wages demanded by the Miners' League 
made very little advance over the existing rates, 
but the right to make even a small advance im- 
plied a right to control the working of the mines, 
and the mine owners refused to accept the rates. 
Members of the league to the number of two hun- 
dred visited the different mines, and ordered the 
stopping of the work. They carried no arms that 
were in sight, though according to some reports they 
supplied themselves with clubs from the wood-piles 
of the mills. It is now contended by some that no 
threats or force was used; that the miners went 
rather as a committee of conference than as a menac- 
ing party. They would not permit any work to be 
done, not even allowing an engine to be run to keep 
the water out. John Eagon, since State Senator, 
and James Mcehan, as well as other prominent men, 
were members of the league. The former person 
accompanied the body of miners to the mills, as he 
asserted, to prevent them from committing any 
excesses, though others say, that having raised "a 
storm he could not control he Avas swept along in 
the whirlwind. The mills at Amador, Sutter, and 
Oneida were all stopped. It is true that some of 
these mines, like the Keystone, Consolidated, Ama- 
dor, and others, were paying mines, and could have 
paid higher wages and dividends also; but other 
mines like the Oneida had never paid dividends, but 
had always been worked at a loss. The wages paid 
varied from two dollars and a half a day for top 
hands, to four dollars for underground men. There 
was no plea that the wages were insufficient to sup- 
port the families, or less than were paid in other 
laborious occupations, but it was intended to raise 
them to the Virginia and Gold Hill standard, where 
the expenses of living were much higher. The daily 
threats of destruction of life and property showed 
the existence of so much ill-feeling that the Governor 
was invoked for aid, and a body of volunteers, 
under General Cazenau, came from San Francisco 
and camped on the hill near the old Wolverine 
shaft. They had several pieces of artillery, and 
formed a regular military camp, sending out and 







relieving guards every evening for the different 
mines. Correspondents from the cities accompanied 
the troops, and reported the conditions every day. 

Never, at any time in the history of the county, 
was the apprehension of danger to life and property 
so strong. The members of the league were men 
who were accustomed to danger, for what does a 
man care for life who risks it every day as a 
miner does. And then the mass of the miners felt 
amenable to no laws but their own. There is no 
class of people who have so little intercourse with 
the outside world, who have their own codes of 
ethics and modes of thought, as the professional 
miners. The threats of life and property, extended 
to other parts of the county. It seemed that the 
officers of justice were paralyzed. The newspapers 
of the county said little about it, as if fearful that a 
word might bring destruction upon them. 

The result was a general prostration of business. 
The towns around the quartz mines had been the 
principal market for produce for some years, and 
when a thousand or more men were thrown out of 
employment and the money which was usually paid 
as wages ceased to circulate, the dejn-ession in 
business was universal, producing in some instances 
actual distress. 

The soldiers remained in the county for several 
weeks, and prevented any destruction of property. 
Some kind of concession was made which termi- 
nated the siege, and the soldiers left, although the 
ill-feeling engendered by the operation remained for 
some time. The damage to the county by this affair 
can hardly be estimated. The mines of gold and 
copper, as well as other minerals, require the aid of 
capital to be made profitable. Capital must be pro- 
tected, or it silently shuts itself up. In subsequent 
years, the memory of the Amador war diverted 
many thousands of dollars from investment in the 


Several altercations grew out of the matter, one 
resulting in the death of two men and the wounding 
of a third. The following from the Dispatch of July 
29, 1871, gives the only account of the matter to be 
found: — 

" The wounds received by Hatch and McMenemy 
have both proved fatal. Both of the wounded men 
were attended by the best of medical aid, but human 
effort proved of no avail. McMenemy lingered 
until half-past twelve p. m., on Wednesday, when he 
died; Mr. Hatch, til! hall-past four the same after- 
noon, when he breathed his last. He was conscious 
to the last, but unable to speak for some hours before 
his death. 

" We will not attempt to give any of the particu- 
lars of this truly melancholy affair, as there are so 
many conflicting statements and rumors afloat that 
it is almost impossible to arrive at the truth of the 
matter. The immediate cause of the shooting, how- 
ever, grew out of an attack made on Mr. Hatch the 
Friday night previous, at a concert given in Sutter 
Creek. The result has created much feeling and 

excitement in our county, 
can now tell." 

Where it will end no one 

Hatch was the confidential clerk of the Amador 
Consolidated Co. Bennet was his friend, who took 
up the quarrel that was forced on Hatch. He was 
obliged to leave the county. Hatch left a young 
wife to mourn her loss. 

Wrigglesworth, an engineer, who persisted in 
running an engine for pumping, after notice to quit, 
was set upon in the streets, and escaped through the 
kindness of a woman in the Exchange Hotel, who 
hid him away while the crowd was searching for 
him. He also had to leave the county. 

The reign of terror gradually passed away, though 
the influence of the Miners' League was felt in polit- 
ical matters sometime after. 


A full set of county and State officers was to be 
elected and, consequently, the politicians began early 
to take advantageous positions and set their forces in 
the field. There were no great national issues to 
arouse public interest, but a combination, or perhaps 
a bidding for the vote of the Miners' League, hereto- 
fore mentioned, gave a great deal of interest to the 
campaign. John Eagon, a member of the League, 
was supposed to control three hundred votes, which 
number would ensure the election of any one nomin- 
ated by either party. Few of the better citizens of 
either party would countenance the proceedings of 
the League, but as one old politician said, three 




H. H. Haight(D.) 

Newton Booth ( R.) 


E. J. Lewis (D.) 

R. Paeheco(R.) 



Sargent ( R.) 


Waldo (D.) 

J ohnson (D.) 

Coleman (R.) 

Eagon (Ind.) 

Swift (Ind.) 


John Vogan (D.) 

H. Kelly (R.) 



Richtrayer (R.) 


Meehan (D.) 

Button (R.) 


Turner (D.) 







Kerr „ 





Yoak ; 




Sharp : 

105 103 

105 106 

24 135 

23 140 

83 107 
45 115 
... 13 


25 123 

109 150 
20 89 

23 139 

104 104 
25 13(5 

10G 104 
23 136 

105 106 
23 134 

188 14 
ISO 218 


36 14 

70 36 

40 15 

66 35 

38 14 

69' 36 

30 15 

38 14 

68' 35 

69 Sd9 



47 17 

58' 33 

38, 11 
68 39 

40' 15 
66, 35 

36 10 

68 39 

41 16 
65' 33 



hundred votes were hard to pick up, so tho three 
hundred were treated with distinguished considera- 
tion. What diplomatic feats were performed; what 
promises made and broken none will tell. The elec- 
tion returns form tho best history of the transaction. 


District Judge — A. C. Adams. 
County Judge — T. M. Pawling. 
Assemblymen — II. A. Waldo, J. A. Eagon. 
District Attorney — R. M. Briggs. 
County Clerk — B. F. Richtmyer. 
Sheriff— H. B. Kelley. 
Treasurer — 0. Button. 
Surveyor — D. D. Reaves. 
Assessor — J. W. Surface. 
Superintendent of Schools — S. G. Briggs. 
Coroner — Charles Boarman. 
Public Administrator — A. Yoak. 


Township No. 1 — J. C. Shipman, Hugh Robinson. 
" " 2— L. Brusie, L. M. Barle. 

" 3— S. F. Mullen, L.Ludekin. 
" 4— P. Cook, J. S. Hill. 
" 5— M. B. Church, D. Worley. 
" 6— E. R. Yates, James Gregg. 


This may be distinguished as the year of waking 
up, when every cranny and pigeon hole was ran- 
sacked to find the amount of the county debt. In 
February the Treasurer estimated the debt as $179,- 
265.47. On the sixth day of June the report indicated 
outstanding warrants on — 

General Fund with interest $153,551.00 

Hospital Fund " " 36.995.6S 

New Certificates 1,979,64— $192,526.32 

The following note is appended to the report: — 

"Upon a thorough examination of the registration 
of outstanding warrants against the redemption and 
hospital funds of the county, as the same appears on 
the books of the County Treasurer, it appears that 
the reports made of the indebtedness of the county 
for the past years have been incorrect, the true 
indebtedness being much greater than reported. The 
presumption is, the error was committed by report- 
ing the interest paid as a reduction of the principal 
to that amount, when in fact it did not reduce it at 

The last quarterly report, December 3, 1872, was, 
outstanding warrants on — 

General Fund $157,121.02 

Hospital Fund 38,007.33 

New General Fund 13,758.23— $20S,884.58 

The Assessor, J. W. Surface, catching some of the 
economic spirit, doubled the assessment roll and aston- 
ished the people with the amount of wealth in tho 

Assessment roll for 1872: — 

Keal Estate $ 359,133 

Improvements 269,105 

Town Lots 90^965 

Improvements thereon 279.S00 

Mining Claims 1,296,200 

Improvements 150,350 

Telegraph 800 

Water Ditches 82,950 

Personal Property ' 3,027,119— $5,556,442 

It.itu uf taxation, $2.35 OD each $100. 

Taxes assessed, including special school taxes, $77,531.17. 


Sinking Fund 70c. Producing. .$22,307.25 

General Fund 45c. " .. 14,340.37 

School Fund 30c. " .. 9,560.25 

Hospital Fund... 40c. " ' .. 6,373.50 

State Fund 50c— $2.35 " . . 15,933.75— $74,8S8.62 

Considering that the population of the county was 
something less than ten thousand, government was 
was quite a luxury, costing about $8.00 per capita. 


This year furnishes an apt illustration of the often 
repeated assertion that the desire for office was at 
the foundation of the enthusiasm generally prevalent 
during elections. There were no county offices to 
fill, and it was difficult to kindle any interest in the 
mass of voters. The Presidential election was a far 
away matter in the chances to get a public appoint- 
ment, and few took any interest on that account. Then 
the nominations were singular. Grant, the Republi- 
can nominee for President, in former days, was con- 
sidered a Democrat, and Greeley, the Democratic 
nominee never was a Democrat; on the contrary, he 
had been during his whole life, fiercely aggressive on 
them; had charged them with all kinds of sins, indi- 
vidually and collectively — sins political, moral and 
intellectual; but Greeley had quarreled with the 
administration, and he was thought a suitable candi- 
date to make an inroad in the Republican ranks. A 
great many, who were former admirers of Greeley, 
were known to be disaffected, and, it was thought, 
would leave the Republican party. The Democrats 
had now conceded the payment of the national debt 
and the validity of the Constitutional amendments, 
so that there was really little difference of opinion, 
on national questions, to keep the people apart. The 
old Democrats reluctantly fell into the ranks with 




















lone City . 





Lancha Plana :. 













Volcano . . ... 


Sutter Creek 


Amador _ 




Forest Home . — 
























Greeley at the head of the column. It was a decided 
case of self-sacrifice for the benefit of the country. 
The younger Democrats suspended the rule and 
voted as they pleased. As might have been expected 
the vote was very light. Even the vote for Congress- 
man was far short of the usual numbers. 

A comparison of the vote with that of 1868 will 
be of interest as showing the want of interest in the 
election: — 

1868. 1872. 

Grant (E.) 1,109 Grant (E.) 946 

Seymour (D.)-- -1.223 Greeley (D.). ... 772 

Total... 2,332 Total 1,718 

Decrease in vote, 614. 


1868. 1872. 

Sargent (E.) .... 1,102 Page (E.) 744. 

Coffroth (D.).. ..1,222 Coggins (D.) 1,016 

Total 2,324 Total 1,760 

Decrease in vote, 564. 

Pace's vote was two hundred and two less than 
Grant's, and Greeley's vote two hundred and forty- 
eight less than Coffroth's. It is evident that many 
men of both parties failed to vote, and that personal 
preferences, with many Democrats as well asEcpub- 
licans, were stronger than party ties; also, that 
National questions were considered of less moment 
than the election of the right kind of men for county 
officers, as the whole vote fell short of the vote of 
the previous year as follows: — 

County Clerk — Spagnoli, 1,002; Eichtmyer, 1,194; 
total, 2,196. Presidential vote, 1872— 1,718. Differ- 
ence, 478. 

Vote for County Clerk in 1873— Stevens, 1,087; 
Eichtmyer, 1,017; total, 2,104. Difference, 386. 


From this time, there seems to have been an 
earnest effort to pay off the debt, as well as to check 
county expenditures. The effort to make the pros- 
pective value of the mines an item on the assessment 
roll, failed. The mine owners succeeded in evading 
it, sometimes by a technicality. In other instances, 
the Supervisors abated part of the tax, to avoid a 
doubtful and expensive lawsuit. The Keystone min- 
ing property was assessed in bulk, the taxes amount- 
ing to nine thousand dollars, which the company 
refused to pay, whereupon, J. W. Surface, the col- 
lector, proceeded to sell the property. In the suit 
which followed, the Court decided, that, though the 
property was principally owned by one company, 
it should have been described and assessed as three 
separate properties; that, in consequence of this, 
the collector be restrained from selling it. 

The assessment roll was reduced to $3,186,750, 

and 818,176.90 taxes were reported as delinquent. 

The total indebtedness July 31st, was reported at — 

Outstanding warrants on Gen. Fund. . $141,76S.0S 
Hospital Fund. 34,044.36 
Certificates not bearing interest 13,991.09 — §189,S03.53 

October 3d, it was reported — 

Outstanding warrants on Gen. Fund. .$143,894.39 
Hospital Fund.. 34,736.46 

Certificates not bearing interest 17,774.65 

New Hospital Fund 1,032.85— $197,438.35 


Early in the season, it was evident that a nomina- 
tion by the Democratic party was equivalent to an 
election, and the strife was principally in the prima- 
ries. Nearly every town had a full sot of candidates, 
who undertook to effect a combination which should 
have their own names on the slate. When the pri- 
maries were over, the successful operators went into 
the Convention, each with his list of delegates, which 
he could trade or bestow on any other candidate as 
a consideration for votes given to himself. Some 
sturdy, independent men, finding themselves valued, 
labeled and consigned to certain parties, will re*bel 
and fret, but a skillful manipulator will manage to 
conciliate them with the promise of a nomination 
another year, or something equally delusive, and so, 
year after year, a smart manager wriggles him- 
self into office; and the man who studies political 
economy instead of men, who knows less of prima- 
ries and more of the science of government, is left 
in the rear in the race. It may be said, however, 
in defense of this kind of political economy, that the 
best governments are the result of organizations 
which harmonize conflicting elements into a force 
working for the general good; that he who cannot 
lead, and is unwilling to follow, must stand aside. 

This season showed a change of positions of some 
of the leaders. John Eagon, one of the old Demo- 
cratic war horses, who was wont to fall into the 
front line when a charge was sounded, now ranged 
himself with the Eepublicans. When he made his 
intention known, he excused, or rather justified, him- 
self with the remark of a Eoman orator: " Tempora 
mutantur, mutamvr," which may be translated, 
Times change, we change. In a rather lengthy address, 
the sentiment, above quoted, was elaborated into 
something like the following: "Fellow-citizens; I 
honestly defended slavery, not that I believed it 
advantageous to States or to the nation, but because 
I found it recognized in the national compact as an 
existing institution. I opposed the attempt to coerce 
the States who refused to submit to the election of 
of a President, and the establishment of an adminis- 
tration hostile to the institution of slavery, not 
because I justified secession, but because I believed 
that reunion could be safely left to time and oppor- 
tunity. The nation thought otherwise. Slavery 
has been abolished by the court of last resort; the 
Union has been re-established, though at a fearful 
price. I do not believe in prolonging a useless 
strife. I am willing to accept the verdict, and abide 
the judgment of the Court. I am willing to forget 
the past, and join with any party to cultivate peace 
and friendship between the two sections, and repair 
the waste and desolations of the war." 



Judge Gordon also took the stump for the Repub- 
lican party. He had been longer a member of the 
Democratic party, because an older man; had been 
a Murat in the thickest of the fight, where his intel- 
lectual sword was sure to cleave a broad way 
through opposing ranks. Though his judgment 
might have caused him to submit to, and advocate; 
the new order of political economy, his heart did 
not respond to the new slogan. His speeches lacked 
the usual fire and vim, and, in a few years after, he 
concluded to give his old age to the party of his 

James T. Farley, who had quietly taken the bit- 
ter pill of defeat during the years of the war, was 
now in front. He had been prudent during the 
years of bitter strife; had tried to soften the asper- 
ity, and vindictiveness of both parties. He had 
remained with the Democrats when sure defeat 
awaited them. His uniform consistency won the 
confidence of the community. He also accepted 
the results of the war, and wished to cultivate peace 
and amity. 

In this campaign was the beginning of that con- 
tinuous wave of popularity which carried him into 
the United States Senate. 

The comparison of the vote with that of 1861, 
when he received less than one-third of the votes, 
must be to him a source of satisfaction. 




John W. Bost, (D.) 

Paul Neuman, (Ft ) 


J. T. Farley, (D.) 

John A. Eagon, (R.) 


W. H. Stowers, (0.) 

J. M. Johnson, (D.) 

L. Miller, (R.) 

J. A. Taggard, (R.) 


Peter Fagan, (D.) 

J. Farnsworth , (R ) 

I. N. Randolph, (lnd.).... 


J. A. Buttterfield, (D.) . . . 

S. G. Spagnoli,(R.) 


J. B. Stevens, (D.) 

B. F. Richtmyer, (R.) 


T. J. Phelps, (D.) 

M. W Gordon, (R.) 


J. W. Surface, (D.) 

S.C.Wheeler. (R.) 


W. L. McKimm, (D.) 

H. C. Meek, (R.) 


S. G. Briggs, (D.) 

H. L. Gould, (R.) 


D. Mvers, (D.) 

3. S.'Hil, (R.; 






1 V '!J 


251 1 










3S 110 

62 100 


105 146 

199 317 
1061 18 

110 160 






















B2 924 


State Senator — James T. Farley (D.) 
Assemblymen — VV. H. Stowers (D.), Louis Mil- 
ler (E.) 

District Attorney— T. J. Phelps (D.) 
County Clerk— J. B. Stevens (D.) 

Sheriff— Peter Pagan (D.) 

County Treasurer— J. A. Butterfield (D.) 

County Surveyor — Wm. L. McKimm (D.) 

Assessor — J. W. Surface (D.) 

Superintendent of Schools — S. G. Briggs (D.) 

Coronor and Public Administrator — D. Myers (D.) 


Township No. 1 — J. C. Shipman, Hugh Robin- 

Township No. 2 — L. Brusie, L. M. Earl. 
Township No. 3 — L. McLaine, L. Ludekins. 
Township No. 4 — J. A. Brown, C. K. Johnson. 
Township No. 5 — M. B. Church, B. S. Hinkson. 
Township No. 6. — S. Cooledge, L. G. Lewis. 


When Alpine county was organized, in 1864, it 
was joined to Amador as a Legislative district, 
which was allowed one Senator and. two Assembly- 
men. It was a mutual understanding that Alpine 
should have one Assemblyman, and Amador the 
other, and the Senator. This arrangement was 
observed for two Legislative terms, but in 1871 and 
1873 the bargain was forgotten in the hurly burly of 
election, and Amador got the whole delegation. It 
happened, in this way, that Louis Miller, a Republi- 
can, was elected to the Assembly, though the party 
to which he belonged was in the minority. In 1874 
Alpine was joined to El Dorado for election purposes, 
and had no further political connection with Ama- 


January 31st the outgoing Treasurer, O. Button, 
made the following report: — 

Cash in Treasury School Fund $10,338 19 

General Fund 13,904 36 

Outstanding Warrants on General 

Fund with interest 134,694 39 

Outstanding Warrants on Hospital 

Fund with interest 33, 185 34 

Certificates on Current Expense Fund, 

no interest 6,622 31 

Certificates on New Hospital Fund 735 00— $174,509 57 

Cash to Apply 13,964 36 

Total Indebtedness $160,504 21 

Value of Taxable Property $2,738,970 00 

Kate of Taxation '. 2 65 

Amount of Taxes 72.5S2 70 

Delinquent for 1873 7,169 74 


Real Estate and Improvements . . .$1,724,140 00 

Personal Property 830,415 00 

Mines 503,780 03 

Improvements on same 194,310 00 

Ditches 61,080 00 

Telegraphs 90C 00— $3,314,625 00 


The Grand Jury which met at the February term, 
C. C. Belding, foreman, recommended a serious effort 
to put the finances on a better basis; prorjoscd a 
general reduction of the salaries of officers, and a 
funding of the county indebtedness at a lower rate 
of interest, and proposed a general mass-meeting on 


m ; 

j& ,**^: ; ^ 


. 4k 



1 fist I 




Israel W. Knox.Pres. near Amador City, Amador C° Cal. 



the 21st instant to consider the situation. The call 
for a convention was responded to by only a few 
individuals, who did not seem to have very clear 
ideas of how refunding the whole debt and issuing 
bonds bearing interest should lessen the taxes of the 
county, when a considerable portion of the indebted- 
ness was not bearing interest. The movement was 
scouted by some as a measure in the interest of the 
bond-holders, and by others advocated as an eco- 
nomical measm-e. Nothing resulted from it. 


As there were neither national, State, or county 
elections during this year, the chapter on political 
matters will be much like the one said to have been 
written by Dean Smith on the snakes of Ireland, 
which consisted of the single line, " There are no 
snakes in Ireland" No momentous events occurred 
to disturb the serenity of those, who were comforta- 
bly seated at their desks in the Court House. The 
newspapers kept up the usual rattle of squibs and 
fire-crackers, and continued to take in the cash for 
Sheriff's sales, patent medicines, and " new goods for 
sale cheaper than ever at the old stand. " 


March 1st. — J. A. Butterfield, County Treasurer, 
reported the outstanding warrants with interest — 

On Redemption Fund 8105,436 46 

Hospital " 21,130 58 

Certificates not bearing interest. .. 2,342 42— $12S,909 46 

The assessment roll for this year, was — 

Real Estate $977,188 00 

Improvements 766,S10 00 

Peisonal Property ' 799,787 00 

Money 25,158 00— $2,568,913 00 

Taxes were assessed on each one hundred dollars — 

For State Fund 60c 

General Redemption Fund 65c 

Current Expense Fund 74c 

Hospital Redemption Fund 20c 

Hospital Current Expense Fund 16c 

School Fund 20c 

Road Fund 5c— $2 60 


This occurred on the night of the 9th of May, 
1875. The following account is made up from the files 
of the Dispatch of May 15, 1875:— 

Sometime in the night, the residence of the Treas- 
urer (Mr. Butterfield) was entered, and his pants 
rifled of the key to the inner lock of the safe, the 
outer one being a Bussey combination lock. The 
robbers then went to the Court House, unlocked the 
office door, opened the safe, and took out fifteen 
thousand two hundred and forty-eight dollars, most 
of .which belonged to the School Fund, consisting of 
fourteen thousand dollars in gold coin, one thousand 
two hundred and eight dollars in silver coin, and 
forty dollars in gold notes. The safe and room were 
then re-locked, and the prize carried away. There 
were two checks amounting to one thousand dollars, 
and some four or five hundred dollars in gold notes, 

which were not taken. When Mr. Butterfield awoke 
in the morning, he was affected with dizziness and 
a sickness of the stomach, and did not get up until 
after his usual hour of rising, and did not miss the 
loss of the pants until five o'clock. 

When Mr. Butterfield discovered the loss of the 
key, he suspected that a robbery had been com- 
mitted, and called upon several citizens to go to the 
Court House with him to examine the safe. They 
found the door of the office locked as usual; the safe 
was also in its usual condition, the outer door being 
locked, and apparently undisturbed. It yielded to 
the usual combination, but the larger portion of the 
money, amounting to fifteen thousand two hundred 
and forty-eight dollars, was missing. Some spots of 
candle-grease on the floor, were the only marks of 
disorder perceptible. 

A meeting of the Board of Supervisors was called 
to consider the matter. A reward of three thou- 
sand dollars was offered for the recovery of the 
treasure, and one thousand dollars for the conviction 
of the robbers. Some professional detectives were 
employed to make a thorough investigation into all 
the circumstances connected with the matter. They 
decided that it was next to impossible for any one, 
not acquainted with the combination, to open the 
door without breaking the lock, or to shut it when 
opened. On inquiry, it was found that the combi- 
nation was the one in use during the term of office of 
his predecessor, Mr. Button; that several persons 
besides the Treasurer knew the combination; James 
B. Stevens, the County Clerk, had once opened the 
safe during a temporary illness of the Treasurer, the 
combination having been written on a slip of paper 
for that purpose; that it was called off by another 
person in the hearing of several others — Mr. Stevens 
turning the handle to correspond with the letters 

The detectives were of the opinion that no robbery 
was committed on the night in question; that it had 
been abstracted at a time, or at different times, pre- 
vious to the 9th and 10th of May, by parties who 
were familiar with the combination. The wildest 
rumors were immediately afloat concerning the loss 
of the money. It was said that a syndicate of Court 
House officers with some outside friends, had been 
using the funds to speculate in stocks, which, at that 
time, were making and breaking fortunes for hun- 
dreds of lucky or unlucky men. As ten thousand 
dollars or more of the school funds wore frequently 
left in the safe for months, the use of it in a certain 
venture would do the county no harm. The ab- 
straction of the money with the intention of return- 
ing it, was not stealing. All this and much more 
was put forward as probable excuses for abstracting 
the public funds. In fact, it was confidently stated 
that a fortunate speculation was once made by a 
former Treasurer in that same way. 

The Treasurer bad erected a costly residence soon 
after coming into office. Ho was the owner of a 



saw-mill and could erect several bouses, If necessary, 

without taxing the mill above its powers, but be bad 
to bear a share of Ibe public rumors. The using of 
tbc old combination, which was known to several 
persons, was a matter which merited blame, and 
suspicion must necessarily rest upon all wbo were 
familiar with tbo combination and bad access to 
tbe safe. 

Some of the efforts to find the money were ludi- 
crous enough to set tbe public on the grin. Dr. 
Randall of lone, wbo is a firm believer in his power 
to call spirits up, or down, from the ethereal deep, 
and gather knowledge from their more than human 
wisdom, announced his ability to find the missing 
money, but the sibyls either knew nothing about it, 
or set him to digging in the wrong places, for its 
location is still a mystery — to the public. 

June 17, 1875. — At a special meeting of tbe Board 
of Supervisors, to consider the loss of the county 
funds, it was ordered that proceedings be immedi- 
ately commenced against the Treasurer and bonds- 
men, for the missing funds. 

It may be as Avell to anticipate the result, and 

make a connected history of the affair. At the 

close of Mr. Buttcrfield's term of office, two experts, 

employed to investigate the accounts, reported as 

follows: — 

*Cash on hand, March 2, 1874, on taking possession of 

the office $ 19,058 56 

Amounts received during two years as taxes on prop- 
erty 131,446 91 

Poll-taxes 6,834 45 

Licenses 6,311 81 

State apportionment 24,297 87 

Fines in Justices Courts 374 07 

Bonds forfeited 43 00 

Sales of lumber 10 00 

Sales of school lands 2,202 66 

Total receipts for two years $190,592 83 


Warrants redeemed $132,995 55 

Paid State Treasurer 26,653 91 

Treasurer's Mileage 154 00 

Auditor's allowance 606 07 

Cash on hand, March 6 7,039 90 

Amount stolen. . . ; 15,248 00 

Accounts otherwise short 4,894 76— $190,592 83 

The deficit being 20,142 76 

This was incorporated into the judgment, which 
was obtained against the Treasurer and bondsmen, 
which, with costs, amounted to twenty-two thou- 
sand two hundred and ninety-two dollars and forty- 
six cents. 

"In the District Court, Eleventh Judicial District for 
the county of Amador. 

"Amador county, plaintiff, vs. J. A. Butterfield, et. 
al., defendants. 

"Itwasbeld by the Court that the custodian of 
the county funds was responsible to tbe county for 
them in all cases, except by acts of God, or a public 
enemy, in which cases there might be a doubt. As 
these conditions were not included in the plea of 
the defendants, they would not be considered. The 
Court ordered judgment to be entered against 
defendants for full amount of loss and costs, amount- 

*These figures are copied from newspaper reports, and are evi- 
dently incorrect. 

ing to twenty-two thousand two hundred and ninety- 
two dollars and forty-six cents." 

Tbe following sureties were included in the judg- 
ment, for the sums set opposite their names: — 

F. II. Hoffman . . 

.9 4,000 

Thos. Carpenter 

S 1,000 

Joseph Samuels _ 

. 3,000 

James Adams 

_ 2,000 

P. Rocco 

. 1,000 

P. A. Clute 

. 5,000 

A. Chicizola 

. 1,000 

Joseph Cunco.. 

. 2,000 

James Meeban. . 

. 14,000 

R. F. Fry 


E. Muldoon 

. 5,000 

A. Rossi. 

. 1,000 

E. C. Palmer 

. 4,000 

J. Coleman 

_ 5.000 

E. Genochio 

. 2,000 

John Vogan 


F. M. Whitmore 

. 1,000 

J. W. Surface 

. 3,000 

L. McLaine 

. 4.000 

. 3,000 

L. Cassinelli 

. 4,000 

J. P. Surface 

. 3,000 

Hiram Beigle 

. 5,000 

J. P. Martin 

. 10,000 

Chas. Stockier. . 

. 2,000 

F. Hutner 

. 5,000 

John Miller 



At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors in the 
early part of 1877, to take into consideration the 
Butterfield judgment for twenty-two thousand seven 
hundred and one dollars and thirty-one cents, it was 
ordered that the proposition of the defendants' 
attorneys, Farley and Porter, to pay the sum of six 
thousand dollars, in three annual installments with- 
out interest, be accepted, the payments to commence 
April 1, 1877. This compromise was considered best 
because the sureties resisted the payment of the full 
amount, and a long and costly suit being the alter- 
native. It was further said: "If we compel the 
sureties to pay the deficit, no future Treasurer could 
ever get bonds!" 

Mr. Butterfield undertook to work the matter out 
without loss to the bondsmen, and, though his 
health was much shattered by the unfortunate affair, 
it is nearly settled. Public opinion, much against 
bim at first, has become nearly unanimous that he 
was more sinned against than sinning; a victim 
rather than a criminal. No clue has yet been 
obtained to the missing money, though it is gener- 
ally thought to have gone iuto Flood and O'Brien's 
bank, through stock speculations. 


The uniform success of the Democratic party 
during recent years, left the struggle principally for 
the nominations. Personal popularity was the basis 
for success iu the Convention. Although tbe national 
questions were discussed to some extent on the stump, 
it was done rather in obedience to custom than for 
any particular interest the people took in the matter. 
Judge Carter, Democratic nominee for the Assem- 
bly, was noted for suavity and pleasing address, and 
in bis progress through the county, mostly let poli- 
tics alone and dealt in personal reminiscences. 
Dunlap was a merchant in Sutter Creek, and though 
not a speaker, had the confidence of the community. 
Grecnwell, his adversary in Sutter Creek, and Brown 
of Jackson, though men of eloquence and ability, 
failed to make any inroad on the solid Democratic 

REVIEW FROM 1870 TO 1880. 


vote. Brown was in charge of the Amador ditch, 
and was expending much money in the county. 
Peck and Aitken, candidates for County Clerk, were 
both good men, who stood high in the community; 
also in the societies to which they both belonged. 
Vogan! who does not know his bland face, twinkling 
with humor, which has carried sunshine along all the 
stage-roads since '49? There were no personal 
objections to the candidates on either side, and 
when the vote was counted the results were not 


Assembly — H. A. Carter, Thomas Dunlap. 

Sheriff — John Vogan. 

District Attorney — T. J. Phelps. 

Treasurer — James Meehan. 

Surveyor — W. L. McKimm. 

Assessor — J. J. Jones. 

Superintendent of Schools — W. H. Stowers. 

Coroner and Public Administrator — -D. Myers. 


Township No. 1— H. Goldner, II. Robinson. 
" " 2— L. Brusie, L. M. Earle. 

" " 3— L. McLaine, L. Ludekins. 

" " 4— C. K. Johnson, L. B. Maxey. 

" " 5— M. B. Church. 

" " 6— E. R. Yates, S. G. Lewis. 


Political Parties in 1S76 — Election Returns by Precincts — Finan- 
ces in 1S77 —Political Parties in 1877 — Returns by Precincts 
— Death of the Honorable Robert Ludgate — Financial Mat- 
ters in 1S7S — Political Parties in 1S78 — Vote on the Adop- 
tion of the New Constitution — Financial Matters in 1879 — 
Political Matters in 1879 — Officers Elected — Effect of the 
New Constitution on the Judicial System — Financial Mat- 
ters in 1860 — Political Parties in 1SS0 — Amador County 
Election Returns Nov. 2, 18S0— Review from 1870 to 1SS0. 

On taking his seat, the Treasurer made a thorough 
examination of the records of the Treasury. It was 
found, notwithstanding the losses, that the finances 
were in a healthy condition. 

The outstanding warrants on the — 

General Fund §67,533 94 

Hospital Fund 16,713 46 

Certificates on Current Expense Fund . 4,191 48 
Interest Estimated at 28,963 73- 

-127,402 61 

Expenses for year ending March 1, 1875- 

Amount allowed on Current Expense 

Fund §21,319 17 

Amount allowed on Hospital Expense 

Fund 4,651 32— §25,973 49 

Expense for year ending March 4, 1876 — 

Amount allowed on Current Expense 

Fund §21,019 22 

Amount allowed on Hospital Expense 

' Fund 3,944 02— §24,963 24 

Total for two years §50,936 73 

The Treasurer made a calculation that, the taxes 
remaining the same, outstanding warrants on the 
General Eund would be redeemed in Jour years; 
the warrants on the Hospital Fund, in eight years. 


All parties had heartily united in celebrating the 
Centennial. Whatever their differences of opinions 
as to the means of preserving the Union, there were 
none as to its value. War Democrats, peace Demo- 
crats, as well as Republicans, spoke from the same 
stand, with the same flag floating over them. No 
one, in listening to the orations, and judging from 
their tenor alone, would suppose that a few years 
previous, they had accused each other of treason, 
and all imaginable crimes. Talk is cheap. If pro- 
fessions of love and devotion to the Constitution and 
the country are cheap, so are charges of treason and 
corruption. People do not mean all they say, or 
say all they mean. 

It was evident that a close contest for the Presi- 
dency was impending. A few votes in Amador 
county might decide the vote of the State, and that 
of the State might decide the Presidential question. 
Four votes in the city of New York elected a Con- 
gressman, whose vote on the thirty-sixth ballot, 
made Thomas Jefferson President. John Quincy 
Adams was made President by a small number of 
votes in the same way. Though disagreeing little 
on Constitutional matters, and the payment of the 
national debts, the parties diverged widely as to 
details. Some were in favor of an unlimited amount 
of paper money. The Whig doctrines of 1836-40, 
were revived; only the advocates were found among 
the members of the hard money party of that day, 
while most of the Whigs, who, in former times, 
advocated paper money, were found in the ranks of 
Republicans, who Avere generally favorable to a gold 
and silver currency. Almost every one, old enough 
to have remembered those days when Jackson and 
Clay were the leaders of the opposing hosts, might 
have said with the Roman orator, " Times change, 
and we change;" for almost every one had changed 

As usual, vituperations and accusations, charges 
of dishonesty and peculations, were made a large 
element in the campaign. Although Governor Tilden 
was instrumental in breaking up one of the most 
gigantic municipal rings that ever controlled a city 
government, and plundered the people, he was rep- 
resented as the incarnation of dishonesty, while the 
Republican party was charged with being the abettor 
of frauds, running through all the civil service. The 
administration, from the President down to tide- 
waiters, was represented as corrupt and dishonest. 
The "Solid South" was born in this campaign. The 
Democrats were charged with interfering with the 
freedom of elections in the Southern States, of trav- 
eling around the country in disguise, and whipping, 
maiming, and even killing, negroes who dared to 
vote the Republican ticket. According to the Repub- 
lican orators, no one could enjoy life or property in 
the old slave States, without conforming to their 
political creeds. It is not our purpose to write a 
history of the United States, or to discuss the politi- 



oal issues of that or any other day; but it may bo 
permissible to remark, thai a little of the good feel- 
ing, manifested In the Fourth of July celebration, car- 
ried into the canvass would have done neither party 
any barm, in votes or otherwise. It is quite prob- 
able, first, that scared)' anybody meant all they 
said, and second, that few men changed their minds 
or votes in consequence of mutual criminations. 





















Lancha Plana 


Ham's Station 
Sutter Creek . 
Amador City. 


Forest Home . 


Fiddletown . _ 


273 1855 
51| 32 

157i 160 
39J 44 

162 131 
21 1 11 

173 204 

172 80 
66, 81 
20 37 
99! 136 
70 68 
12i 3 




















































It may be mentioned as a remarkable occurrence, 
that the vote at this election approximated the usual 
vote on county officers, falling only one hundred 
short of the vote the following year. 


The Supervisors reported, March 1, 1877 — 

Total receipts for three years as $169,05S 48 

Cash an hand at the beginning of the 

Term 1874 23,767 19— $192,825 67 

Disbursements during same time $167,513 36 

On hand $16,312 31 

October 1st the Treasurer reported — 

Outstanding warrants on 

General Fund $52,689 23 

Hospital Redemption Fund 14,502 39 

Current Expense Fund ; . . . 11,351 84 

Hospital Expense Fund 1,016 21 

Unclassified 89 86 

Deficiency 65 80— $79,715 33 

This does not include interest. It is not probable 
that any accurate estimate of interest had been made 
up to this date, as it was considered the work of sev- 
eral weeks to go over the outstanding warrants and 
estimate the interest due; hence the apparent con- 
tradictions in annual reports. In other instances 
reports, made before and after the collections of the 
annual tax, showed a great reduction of the debt 
when, considering the whole year, no reduction had 
been made. In March, Judge Williams, of the Dis- 
trict Court, decided that the warrants only bore 
seven per cent, interest, this applying to all that 
were issued previous to 1868, as well as since. 


The occurrence of the county election again 
brought out a new crop of aspirants. This season 
Amador was joined with San Joaquin as a Sen- 
atorial District, the later county being entitled to one 
for itself, and another jointly with Amador. James 
T. Farley, who had been Senator for two successive 
terms, was now a candidate for the U. S. Senate, and 
declined a re-election. Frank Brown, who had had 
some experience in a former canvass as candidate for 
the Assembly, was nominated a joint Senator with 
San Joaquin. Dunlap, the former member, and R. 
Ludgate of lone, a popular man, were nominated for 
the Assembly by the Democrats, Judge Carter hav- 
ing declined a re-election. Eagon, who was now 
working well in the Republican ranks, and James 
Johnston of lone, a pioneer and universally liked, 
were nominated by the Republicans for the same 
positions. Vogan, incumbent, was re-nominated for 
Sheriff, running against Frank Howard of Sutter 
Creek. Meehan, Treasurer, was also re-nominated. 
Caminetti, a young and active lawyer, popular with 
everybody in general, especially the ladies, received 
the nomination of District Attorney at the hands of 
the Democrats against J. S. Hill, a well-known pio- 
neer, nominated by the Republicans. Henry Peck, 
County Clerk, was re-nominated by the Democrats. 
Tom Chicizola receiving the Republican nomination. 
The men were all popular in their respective pre- 
cincts, and were expected to make large inroads into 
the votes of their opponents. Brown and Eagon did 
the heavy speaking for the Republicans, Caminetti 
doing similar service for the Democrats. Mr. Farley, 
however, though not on the ticket, as usual led the 
Democratic forces. The matter of electing a delega- 
tion to the Legislature favorable to his aspirations to 
the Senatorship, was an important element in the 
canvass, which was remarkable for the good feeling 
and absence of the usual vituperation and abuse. 




Oullahan (D.) 

Brown (R.) 


Ludgate (D.) 

DunUp (D.) 

Eagon (R . ) 

Johnston (R.) 


Vogan (D.) 

Howard (R.) 


Peck (D.) 

Chichizola ;R.) 


Caminetti (D.I 

Hill (R.) 


Meehan 'D.) 

rotter (R.) 


Freeman (R.) 

Giles m.) 


Norton (R.) 

Edsinger (D.) 


W. L. McKimm (R). 



170 166 


103 220 
99 167 


102 251 


96 201 












31 :03 173 


17 1315 
5 1267 


19 1409 

19 1477 

18 1366 



4 1306 


Mountain Springs .Ranch and Tculhduse of JOHNVOGAN. 
ione & Jackson Road. Amador County, Cal. 

REVIEW FROM 1870 TO 1880. 



Township No. 1 — S. G. Spagnoli, II. Goldner. 

Township No. 2 — L. Brusie, L. M. Earlo. 

Township No. 3 — L. Ludekin, L. Huey. 

Township No. 4 — J. Gundry, J. B. Maxcy. 

Township No. 5— M. B. Church. 

Township No. 6 — S. G. Lewis, S. Cooledge. 

The list of retui'ns is well worth a study. It will 
be seen that each candidate made large inroads into 
his opponent's vote in his own district, also, that 
when the vote was counted, there was a great uni- 
formity in the majorities. 


This occurred February 15, 187S, while in Sacra- 
mento attending, as far as his failing health would 
allow, to his duties as Legislator. lie was born in 
the county of Waterford, Ireland, and was forty- 
four years old at the time of his death. He came to 
the United States in 1850, and a year later to 
California, settling in lone valley, where he built 
up a home. He was a man of warm feelings, 
active temperament, strong convictions, and un- 
doubted integrity, winning the respect and esteem 
of all with whom he became acquainted. His death 
was not unexpected, as he had been suffering for 
many years from a pulmonary disease. A committee 
of both houses was appointed to escort his remains 
to lone, and assist in the funeral ceremonies. 


Rates of taxes: — 

For State Fund 55 c. 

Gen. Redemption Fund 57-^0. 

Current Expense " 65 c. 

Hoi-pital Red'ption " 15Jc. 

Hospital Current Expense Fund 20 c. 

School Fund 24 c. 

Road " ' 13 c— $2.50 

November 4tl), the Treasurer reported 
outstanding warrants on Current 

Expense Fund $10,947 98 

Hospital Current Expense Fund... 224 S3 

Salary • "... 2,530 15 

General Redemption " ... 43,032 74 

Hospital " "... 10,138 63— $66,S74 33 

This does not seem to include interest, which two years before 

was estimated at $38,963.73. 

This would carry the debt to upwards of $100,000. 


The usual political problems were postponed to 
consider the matter of framing a new Constitution. 
Fur once in our history the people were engaged in 
discussing the first principles of government. The 
overshadowing growth of the great railroad com- 
pany, which had extended its Briarian arms, so as to 
bring every industry, whether mercantile, agricultu- 
ral, or mechanical, under its influence; the growth of 
the gas and water companies in the cities; the appro- 
priation of the streams flowing from the mountains 
by the ditch and water companies; the holding of 
large tracts of land, amounting in some instances to 
one hundred thousand acres, for purely speculative 
purposes, as well as many other similar institutions, 

caused a general fear in the State, that a few were 
soon to have the wealth, and that poverty was to be 
the inheritance of the workers. In the cities the 
agitation was greatest among the day laborers, 
who beheld a favored few — unjustly favored in the 
minds of the laborers — rolling along the streets in 
easy carriages, while they, who had built the houses, 
worked the mines, and made the property, were 
working for barely enough to obtain the merest 
necessaries of life. In San Francisco, Sacramento, 
and Stockton, socialistic sentiments prevailed to a 
great extent, and at one time, when Kearney was 
organizing the workers, as well as those who never 
did nor would work, into a voting party, the pros- 
pect of a forcible distribution of property was quite 
imminent. Hundreds of fierce, brutal faces hung on 
his words and listened for the expected order to help 
themselves to all they wanted, and, also, take satis- 
faction for past sufferings and injuries. 

During the working of the placer mines, when any 
one who would work could make three dollars or 
more per day, thousands wasted their earnings on 
cards, whisky, or women. A stream of gold flowed 
to the cities, building up stores, dwellings, and big 
bank accounts, leaving the worked-out gulches and 
hills, and the old, worn-out, dilapidated miners as the 
heritage of the country that furnished the wealth. 
Many of these demoralized miners drifted towards 
the cities, following the wake of their departed 
means, and, homeless, hopeless, and useless, joined 
the city vagrants in their efforts to compel the resti- 
tution of their wasted wealth, their sole political aim 
being to " give old monej^-bags hell." 

In the country, especially in Amador county, 
the agitation was on a different basis. Here were 
numerous small proprietors, owning ten to one 
hundred acres of laud stocked with a few cattle 
and sheep, who did their own work, and who, by 
industry and close economy, could make both 
ends of saving and expenditure meet at the end of 
the year. Every year the Assessor came around and 
made a note of every pig, chicken, or cow that was 
about the place. The land, as well as improvements, 
was assessed up to full value. If, in consequence of 
sickness or a failure of crops, the farmer had been 
compelled to mortgage his home to keep things 
going, the taxes remained unabated. It was known 
that men with large sums of money loaned out at 
high interest, paid nominal taxes. \Vheu money 
could be made to pay two or three per cent, per 
month it Avas forthcoming, but when taxes were 
assessed it was a nonentity. It was like the little 
joker under Lucky Bill's* fingers: now you could see 
it, but when the thimble was lifted it was not there. 

It was known that large tracts of land that were 
held for purely speculative purposes, paid only a 

•William Thornton (Lue'ty Bill) made a hundred thousand 
dollars or more in l'lacerville, in 1S50, with a piece of sponge, 
which he dexterously played under two or three thimbles. He 
induc3d thousands of men to bet a hundred on finding it, gener- 
ally taking in the money. 



nominal tax. It was believed that the producing 
class boro tho brunt of taxation, while corporated 
companies and dealers in stocks virtually escaped. 

Tho subject of taxation was discussed at every fire- 
side in tho county. The farmers and gardeners had 
no feelings in common with tho socialist or com- 
munist. Dennis Kearney could not have raised a 
corporal's guard who would indorse bis theory of 
political economy. But tho feeling of distrust 
towards capitalists, for a short time, united the most 
antipodal extremes, and found tho farmers voting 
with city proletariats. This was manifested less in the 
election of delegates than in the vote to adopt the 
Constitution afterwards framed. The non-partisan 
ticket prevailed, Wm. H. Prouty, a farmer of Jack- 
son valley, and John A. Eagon, a lawyer, being 
elected delegates to the Constitutional Convention. 
The selection of these two was evidently a compro- 
mise or union of the solid parts of both Republican 
and Democratic parties, as a measure of defense 
against the wild theories of the Kearney party in 
the cities. 



Showed a preponderance of the farming interest for 
the Constitution, and of the mining interest against 
it, lone City, which was the center of the farming 
population, giving seventy-one majority for the Con- 
stitution, while Amador, Plymouth, Drytown and 
Volcano were as decidedly against, the former town 
giving nearly ten to one. This overwhelming oppo- 
sition was ascribed to the influence of the mine 
owners, who induced the workmen to believe the 
mills would stop under the new Constitution. 

For. Against. 

Amador 20 190 

Clinton 34 * 28 

Drytown 21 115 

Enterprise ... 1 14 

Forest Home 15 31 

Ham's Station 8 5 

lone City 174 103 

Jackson 207 207 

Oleta 62 45 

Lancha Plana.. 32 53 

Plymouth 70 166 

*Sutter Creek 224 133 

Volcano 140 171 

Total 1008 1261 

Majority for adoption, 253. 


Tax rates : — 

For State Purposes 62^c. 

General Redemption Fund 57fe. 

Expense Fund 67|c. 

Hospital Redemption Fund lo^c. 

Hospital Current Expense Fund 20c. 

School Fund 24c. 

Road Fund 13c— $2 60 

*Sutter Creek seemed to have voted differently from the other 
mining towns. This was owing to a partial resuscitation of the 
Miners' League. 


Real Estate $925,409 00 

Improvements 979, 110 00 

Personal Pr-perty 661,369 00 

Money 12, 183 00— $2,578,071 00 

Taxes on the same 07,307 78 

State Portion 10,179 75 

County Portion 51, 128 03— $67,307 78 


Outstanding Warrants on — 

Current Expense Fund $ 7,057 66J 

Hospital Expense Fund 1,536 48 

Salary Expense Fund 8,450 95 

General Redemption Fund, 41,812 34 

Hospital Redemption Fund 8,600 38— $07,463 81 J 

Cash in treasury to apply 24,847 61 

Total Indebtedness $42,611 20J 

As this report was made previous to the applica- 
tion of the current year's revenue, it shows an undue 
amount of debt. 

January 31st, following — 

The indebtedness, exclusive of interest. $69,493 76 

Cash in Treasury to apply 61,060 31 

Leaving $8,433 45 


The election following the Constitutional Conven- 
tion, would naturally partake of the peculiar char- 
acter of the previous year's canvass; but it seemed 
that the reaction setting in over the State, was felt 
also in Amador county. The impracticability of 
righting all wrongs by statute law, became manifest 
as the Convention set about the work, so that the 
fierce and positive opinions became considerably 
modified in the course of a few months. The elec- 
tion of most of the old officers was a natural result. 
Where new ones were substituted, men of moderate 
opinions were chosen. Dr. Brusie, an old resident 
of the county, and a highly esteemed man, never 
had been active in politics, and was elected more 
for his personal popularity, than for any speeches 
he had made on the stump. The same might be 
said of R. C. Downs, who had resided in the county 
for thirty years. He had been engaged in quartz 
mining most of the time, in which vocation he had 
been eminently successful, having opened and devel- 
oped some of the richest mines in the county, as 
early as 1851. Fontenrosc, the new County Clerk, 
was a young man, born of Italian parents, and edu- 
cated in the county. He received the full Republi- 
can vote, and also many of the votes of Democratic 
Italians. This class of foreign citizens formerly 
voted the Democratic ticket unanimously, but the 
solidarity is being broken up, and in a few years 
they are likely to divide on all political questions. 

Judge Moore, elected to the position of Superior 
Judge, is a young and promising lawyer, and fills 
the position with honor to himself, and satisfaction 
to all who bring business before him. 

It will be observed that B. F. Langford, State 
Senator, is a resident of San Joaquin county, which, 
three years before, was joined to Amador as a joint 
Senatorial District, for one Senator. As Amador 

REVIEW FROM 1870 TO 1880. 


had the nomination of the first Senator on that 
plan, the second fell to San Joaquin. 


Superior Judge — Geo. Moore. 

State Senator — B. F. Langford. 

Assemblymen — L. Brusie, R. C. Downs. 

District Attorney — A. Caminetti. 

County Clerk — L. J. Fontenrose. 

Sheriff — John Vogan. 

Treasurer — James Meehan. 

Surveyor — J. A. Brown. 

Assessor — A. Petty. 

Superintendent Schools — L. Miller. 

Coroner and Public Administrator — n. Schacht. 


At the general election held in the month of Sep- 
tember, 1879, the people adopted the new Constitu- 
tion, which took effect on the first day of January 

By the provisions of this instrument the entire 
judicial system of the State was revolutionized, and 
new courts succeeded to the powers and jurisdiction 
of the old ones. Prior to January, 1880, Hon. George 
E. Williams, of El Dorado county, was the Judge of 
the District Court, embracing within its territorial 
boundaries, the counties of Amador, Calaveras, and 
El Dorado; and Hon. A. C. Brown was the Judge of 
the County Court of Amador county. 

By the new Constitution the combined jurisdiction 
of these two tribunals in this county, was merged 
into one court — called the " Supreme Court of the 
County of Amador," with one Judge, who was 
elected at the general election in 1879, and took his 
seat on the first Monday in January, 1880. 

At that time, Hon. George Moore, of Jackson, 
was elected to the position of " Superior Judge," 
for a term of five years. Judge Moore is a native of 
Kentucky, a regular graduate of Centre College, 
and at the date of his elevation to the bench was 
about thirty years of age, being one of the youngest 
Superior Court Judges in the State. 

This new judicial system, which establishes and 
keeps open at all times, a court of general common 
law, equity, and criminal jurisdiction in each county 
of the State, would, it was thought, greatly facilitate 
the speedy trial of causes, and prove more econom- 
ical in everyway, both to litigants and tax-payers. 

Having now watched its workings for one year, 
we are satisfied that these expectations are being 
fully realized. In this, and indeed in every county 
throughout the State, we find that it is daily growing 
in popularity with both bar and bench, as well as 
with • the people. We no longer hear from any 
quarter, the many complaints in reference to the 
delay and expense incident to litigation under the 
old system; but all who arc best posted touching 
these matters, unite in saying that the change was 
one much needed, and one which will promote the 
best interests of the entire State. 


At the close of the fiscal year the Treasurer 
reported outstanding warrants on — 

Current Expense Fund $10,101 71 

Salary Fund 7,344 41 

Hospital Expense Fund . . 456 57 

Eedemption Fund, excluding interest.. 41,812 34 

Hospital Eedemption Fund 8,601 38— $69,493 76 

Cash in Treasury to apply 61,060 31 

Indebtedness exclusive of interest $8,433 45 

It would have been more satisfactory to have 
known the exact amount, but the calculations of 
interest seem to be repulsive to most persons except 
those who are to receive it. The most careless reader 
will perceive that the debt is being gradually extin- 
guished, however, forming a pleasing contrast to the 
end of the previous decade, when the principal was 
one hundred thousand dollars, and the interest as 
much more, amounting to two hundred and eight 
thousand dollars, with habits of careless extrava- 
gance to add to the burden. 


With the return of the Presidential campaign 
came the resort to abuse. It looks like folly to recur 
so often to these things. Those who, for the first 
time, vote the Presidential ticket might imagine that 
it was possible that a rascal had wriggled into the 
nomination. Those whose memory extends back a 
half century, or whose reading extends over the hun- 
dred years of our national existence, will know that 
this personal abuse is peculiar to no age, no Presi- 
dential campaign, no year; that it does not depend 
upon malaria in the atmosphere or dyspepsia pre- 
vailing in the national stomach, but is incidental to a 
free discussion ©f political matters, whether by a 
mob of Athenians, a body of dignified Senators, or a 
crowd of sand-lot political economists. No man, 
however exalted his character, can expect to escape. 
Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln, men 
whom a grateful posterity have enshrined, felt tho 
bitterness of vindictive misrepresentation. At the 
close of Washington's administration, a resolution 
approving his administration and recommending his 
successors to follow in his footsteps, met the fiercest 
opposition. Mr. Giles, Senator from Virginia, Wash- 
ington's own State, remarked: " I do not consider his 
administration an able one; on the contrary, I think it 
is to his imbecility and cowardice that we owe all our 
misfortunes." Probably no President ever received 
severer language on the floor of Congress. Quite a 
number of men voted against the resolution, among 
the number being Andrew Jackson, then a Senator 
by appointment from the recently admitted State of 
Tennessee. The Philadelphia Aurora, a leading 
Republican paper, commenced an article, on tho day 
spoken of, in this wise: — 

"'Lord lettest thou now thy servant depart in 
peace, for mine eyes have seen the glory of thy salva- 
tion.' If ever any nation had reason to utter this, 
it is this nation. If any people ever had occasion to 



utter it, it is this people, for this d:iy the author of all 

our woes retires 10 private life. Let him go to that 
retirement which he so much desires." 

And much more of tin: same sort. Volumes could 
bo filled wiih the written and spoken abuse of our 
best men; but it is not the province of this work to 
contain a history of the United States. The vituper- 
ation, the charges of treason, cowardice, dishonesty, 
and everything else conceivable that is bad, that 
were hurled at the distinguished men who were 
candidates for the Presidency, are the subjects of mys- 
tery. That Garfield should have sold himself for 
three hundred and twenty-nine dollars, or that Han- 
cock contemplated handing his army over to the 
rebels, is, now that the campaign is over, too absurd 
to deserve a thought. How people can bring them- 
selves to such a mental condition is mysterious, but 
it is probably the same faculty of imagination which 
induced a man to think he had married an angel 
and then induced him to larrup her within an inch of 
her life in less than a week from the wedding day. 
The election passed off, and as the sun went down 
so did the passions and anger which the occasion had 
engendered, the smoke of the jubilee bonfires and 
powder being the last of it. 




Hancock (D.) 

Garfield (R.) 

J. R. Glascock (D.). 
H. F. Page (R.).... 


Thomas Dun'ap(D.). 

C. B. Swift (D.) 269 

J. A. Eagon(R.) |239 

Chapman Waikins(R.). 


58 146 
23 141 


a. > 

17|166 1S2 
11 106.21S 

17 163 183 

11 103,214 

16 ISO 204 

12 86 102 
11 112 216 

27 132 
39 185 

27 130 

39 186 

27 1.'3 
25 133 

40 176 
39 186 


74 139S 
53 1343 


The careful reader will see that the average Dem- 
ocratic majority has been decreasing for some years, 
being less than one hundred where it was formerly 
three hundred. The two persons elected to the Leg- 
islature were new men. Swift, a man of reading and 
culture, had modestly kept in the background until 
forced to accept a nomination. Warkins is a profes- 
sional miner, who has studied the structure of veins 
wall rocks, dips, and strikes, more than tariffs and 
taxes. He is a man of mature judgment and inflex- 
ible integrity, and is not likely to be bribed or led 
into the support of vicious legislation. 

REVIEW FROM 1870 TO 1880. 

At the beginning of this decade the county was 
two hundred and eight thousand dollars in debt; the 
population was decreasing; the placer mines had 
become comparatively exhausted; the population, 
being made up largely of women and children, 
instead of the stalwart, healthy men who settled 
the country, had become less self-sustaining, and 
a general decline in all industrial industries seemed 
imminent. The towns of Sutter and Amador alone 
seemed to be in a flourishing condition. These 

towns furnished the best market for lumber, wood, 
and agricultural products, and in one way and 
another contributed towards sustaining every indus- 
try. We have seen the effect of economy in county 
expenditures, which, without increasing the rate of 
taxation, has so worn away the public debt that it is 
expected to call in the last outstanding warrant by 
the first of January, 1884:. Though quartz mining 
has mostly ceased in Sutter Creek, where its annual 
productions once reached millions, it has been placed 
on a paying basis in several places (notably Volcano 
and Ptymouth), where it was not profitable before, 
and largely increased in other places, as Amador and 
Jackson. New mines arc being opened at several 
places which bid fair to lival, in richness and perma- 
nency, the once rich mines of Sutter Creek. Agri- 
culture has received a new impetus, and small 
vineyards, orchards, and farms, are appearing on the 
hill-sides and valleys, which are made to teem with 
life by means of the water from the mining ditches. 
The population is increasing in numbers, the cen- 
sus returns showing an increase of one thou- 
sand seven hundred and forty since 1870, being 
nearly twenty per cent. More permanent buildings 
are being erected, and more extensive farming oper- 
ations contemplated. The population have less 
expectation of getting rich suddenly, and are more 
willing to labor for a fair compensation. Better 
school-houses are being erected and the attendance 
is more constant, showing better results in every 

The once common vices of gambling and drinking 
with the usual accompaniments of lewdness and 
obscenity, are vanishing before a healthy public opin- 
ion, a sense of self-respect taking the place of the 
recklessness of early days. Most of the surround- 
ings are conducive to the building up of peaceful, hon- 
orable industries, and an industrious and virtuous 

Note. — Those who undertake to verify the statistics of the 
last two chapters, will discover many inaccuracies. They have 
been compiled from newspapers, the orrhial reports not being 
accessible. Only professional statisticians, like DeBow or 
Walker, can handle large columns of figures without confusing 
them. Though imperfect in detail, the general results are sub- 
stantially correct. The publishers give them as the best attain- 

•Thompson &■ wesr fve,o*xinNo cal. 





Strata in Buena Vista Mountain — Carboniferous Clays — Granitic 
Sandstone — Glacial Epoch — Supposed Section of the Mount- 
ains — Former Course of the Rivers — Account of the Blue 
Lead — Stratified Rocks — Serpentine Range — Chromate of 

Some account of its geology seems absolutely 
necessary in connection with the extensive mining 
interests; yet it is rather dangerous ground to 
step on. Every day is bringing some discovery; 
which sweeps away an old and well-established 
opinion. To write an opinion of its geology may 
subject one to the fate experienced by Dr. Lardnei-, 
who wrote a very copious book, demonstrating 
beyond a doubt the impossibility of crossing the 
ocean by steam. About the time the book was well 
out, a steamer crossed the ocean, without paying 
any attention to the impossibility. It would be of 
little use to the majority of the readers of this book 
to tell them that the slates were what is called 
hypogene schistose, by'some authors, to signify that they 
might have come from the earth in an injection 
between the vertical rocks; or met amorphic slates by 
others, to signify that they had been altered by 
heat, or other causes; that these slates were gen- 
erally metaliferous, and that veins of ores of all kinds 
might be found in such rocks. These matters are 
known to scientific readers, and are but the skeleton 
parts, which must be clothed with a thousand accom- 
panying facts to make geology a living, interesting 
topic. The limits of this work will not permit a full 
treatise of the geology of this county, even if the 
author were fully able,' which is not the case. Only 
the most obvious and important matters, with the 
proofs that can be seen without much trouble or 
expense, will be noticed. 

A large volume might be written on the subject, 
without exhausting it; and years, aye, a life-time, 
might be spent in the study of geology, and still 
only penetrate the outer precincts of the science. 
A distinguished geologist, who had given a quarter 
of a century to the study, said if one could live a 
thousand years he might know something about it. 
While the author disclaims any pi*etensions to pro- 
found knowledge of this subject, in justice to him- 
self and readers, he claims to have given it much 
thought. Twenty-five years' residence in the county, 
close and careful observation, with perhaps as much . 
reading as generally falls to a laboring man, has 
given him an opportunity to apjn'ceiate, if not to 
master, the difficulties of some of the problems in 
geology. As scarcely one of the subscribers to this 
work will claim or acknowledge any skill in this 
science, the writer may be excused for treating it 
in a popular manner. If some one of our young 
readers may be induced to give the subject his atten- 
tion, if only one Hugh Miller, is kindled with a 
desire to be able to read the records of creation, as 
told by the rocks, and shall give a score of years of 

active, vigorous life, to the examination of the sub- 
ject, so as to bo able to give the world a trite geology, 
the writer will have been a thousand times remuner- 


In treating of geology, I must ask my readers to 
make a free use of time. Let thousands, aye, hun- 
dreds of thousands of years enter into our calcu- 
lations without fear of using up that part of the 
material, for Nature is never pressed for time. No 
matter how small the yearly progress, time will 
accomplish great changes. Those who have given 
chronology thorough study, think they can trace 
the creation back six hundred nillions of years. Let 
us consider too that change, if not life, is the inher- 
ent quality of all matter; that no form is permanent; 
that the " eternal hills" is true not for a day even; 
that the loftiest mountain, buttressed with granite, 
was once sleeping beneath the sea, and will again; 
that the deep sea holds mountain chains in her 
bosom, that will, in their own good time, emerge to 
the light. 

As all stratified rocks, or at least such as we are 
likely to meet with, were once horizontal, let us go 
back in imagination to the time when the deep sea 
was rolling over our own Sierra Nevadas. We must 
not hesitate in the cause of science, to sink also the 
Utah basin, and even the Rocky Mountains. It 
matters not that some of our sarcastic friends tell us 
that we have no ground to stand on; that will 
appear presentby. We have now the sea, deep as 
the Atlantic, rolling over the future Great West. 
Only a portion of the continent, perhaps the White 
Mountains and Apalachian range, are yet out of the 
sea. It is during these immensely long periods that 
the slates and the rocks, the future sources of min- 
eral wealth, are deposited in the deep sea. Age 
after ago (time is no object) the deposit goes on, 
perhaps the thousandth part of an inch a year. 
Minerals, suspended or in solution in the water, may 
be brought and deposited, either by precipitation or 
by gravity, and compounded into the mass. Every 
one has seen how iron is precipitated by a small 
particle of sea-weed along the shore, the iron in turn 
uniting with something el*e — lime, salt, magnesia, 
potash, silex, alumina, and, perhaps, gold and silver, 
through chemical changes that are constantly inter- 
mingling, changing, and forming new compounds. 
The coral insect goes to work, and, laying hold of 
each particle of lime that comes along, incorporates 
it into a solid reef — the future limestone ranges of 
the continent that is forming. The smallest insect, 
the infusoria, finding the water charged with silex, 
lays hold of the atoms, builds its tiny shells so small 
that a thousand millions would not make an inch, and 
patiently, year after year, age after age, piles up the 
little shells, until five, ten, perhaps fifty feet of infuso- 
rial earth forms the material for the quartz veins of 
our continent yet to be. Ten thousand, twenty thou- 
sand, and sometimes fifty thousand feet of various min- 



erals may be deposited in this way, all this matter 
being Blowly worn away from some pre-existing land, 
which perhaps has had a birth in a former cycle. 
As the materia] accumulates and acquires depth, the 
internal heat of the earth, which is manifested in all 
deep mines, by an increase of temperature of one 
degree for each sixty feet or thereabouts, begins to 
facilitate and perhaps produce chemical changes in 
the first formed strata, which soon lose their former 
texture and become our future metamorphic, or, as 
they were formerly called, the hypogene schistose 
rocks. Allowing an increase of one degree for each 
sixty feet, we have for a depth of forty thousand 
feet a heat of six hundred or more degrees, and 
making allowance for rents and seams permeating 
the mass, probably much greater in places. And 
now for some unknown reason, the great mass, so 
long quiet, slowly arises out of the water, not all at 
once, but in long, parallel reef's, one preceding the 
other perhaps by ages; low and marshy at first, but 
soon, geologically speaking, assuming shape. Wheth- 
er from a greater force of upheaval or from a weak- 
ness or want of cohesion, some of these ranges, or 
axes of elevation, break for great distances, and 
granite is erupted, forming mountains, down whose 
sides water begins to run, carrying the detritus or 
decay into the new valleys. The mineral matters, 
having undergone great changes in the depth of the 
earth, appear, perhaps, concentrated into veins. 

Now, let us consider for a moment the appearance 
of these different strata. At first horizontal and 
existing in floors and parallel layers, they are now 
distorted, bent in places into the shape of a " TJ," 
in others into a " Y " shape, the lower parts being 
still down thousands of feet in the earth, subject to 
the six hundred or more degrees of heat, which were 
before referred to. If we could see the strata in its 
shape where the mountain chains are being elevated, 
it would present an appearance something like a 
hundred or more layers of cloth pressed edgewise 
together, thus: — 

The reader will not for a moment consider that the 
different layers of rock will hold together like cloth; 
we have supposed the breakage to take place where 
the greatest strain occurred, which would be on the 
top of the bends or bights. We must also consider 
these bends, anywhere from ten to twenty miles 
apart, or at least twice the thickness of our deposit 
in the sea, though these mountain elevations may 
be hundreds or even thousands of miles apart, in 
which case we might have a valley like the space 

between the Alleghany and Rocky Mountains, or 
with unequal elevations, we might have a valley like 
the space between the Sierra Nevada and Rocky 
Mountains with short ranges interspersed. 

We have presumed upon the tops of these bights 
or axes of upheaval, breaking so as to expose the 
lower lying strata. In fact, denudation would set 
in and the tops of these elevations would be cut off 
nearly to the line of the primitive or granitic rocks. 
It is now evident that the lower or first formed 
rocks, being the hardest or most highly metamor- 
phosed, would form the tops of the ridges, even 
where the granite had not cropped out. 

The formation of mountain ranges is a thing of 
past ages, but is a product of forces still in operation. 
Slowly the Coast Range is emerging from the sea, 
and along the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, 
as well as the Coast 'Range, are indisputable marks of 
a former sea-shore, when both ranges of mountains 
and the intervening valley were some hundreds of 
feet lower than at present. How many of these axes 
of elevation occur in the Sierra Nevadas, may not 
be determined, but it is quite certain that the higher 
mountains were, so to speak, in active operation 
while the foot-hills, where the principal mines are, 
were still the floor of the ocean. It is also certain 
that the older or higher ranges had auriferous quartz 
veins, while the present worked veins were either 
unformed or slumbering in the depths of the sea. 
Those who have never studied the rocks, except to 
learn their economic value, can form but little idea 
of the history of their creation, which their texture, 
quality and locality relate. A boy who picks up a 
rounded quartz pebble considers it a good article 
with which to pelt a dog or knock a squirrel out of a 
tree; a gravel miner would consider it an indication of 
a hill deposit, and forthwith would commence a shaft 
on the top of the nearest hill; while a railroad man 
would think a deposit would make splendid material 
to ballast his road. A geologist would immediately 
ask, " Where is the river which rounded this pebble ? 
for every rounded pebble is the result of pluvial 
action. Where is the quartz vein from which this 
has beer^torn ?" A bed of boulders on the top of a 
hill marks the bed of an ancient river, though the 
present stream runs some hundred feet below. lie 
will tell you that in by-gone ages the river was up 
there; that the valleys had been made by erosion. 
So every rock, every pebble, has its history. The 
placers which were worked in an early day. — Tunnel 
Hill, Butte Basin, Prospect Hill, American Hill at 
Oleta, as well as Loafer Hill — all speak of a system of 
rivers, and of course a system of quartz veins from 
which the gold was filched. The vast masses of 
sand, gravel, and clay, w T ith which the San Joaquin 
valley is filled, as well as the eroded valleys, ancient 
rivers, and lava-capped hills, all testify of the forces 
that have helped to make our present abode. 

A history of the denudation may be read in the 
layers of potter's clay, gravel, sand, and lava, that 



form the foot-hills and the bed of the San Joaquin 
valley. The Bucna Yista mountain is, perhaps, from 
its exposure on several sides, a convenient book of 
reference. Standing on the top of this, one may see 
many parts of the original plain, of which this 
mountain formed a part, that once rested on the 
valleys of lone, Buena Yista, and Buckeye, from 
three hundred to six hundred feet thick, sloping to 
the edge of the former sea-shore, which was forced 
farther away as the masses of matter carried down 
by the rivers filled the valley or basin, precisely as 
the debris or slickens is now filling up the low places. 
The top of this mountain is about six hundred feet 
above the vallej^, and seems to have formed a part of 
the same plain which extended east past Jackson, 
Sutter, and Amador, though at these last-named 
places the plain was some hundreds of feet higher 
than at Buena Yista. Marks of this plain can be 
seen around the base of Butte mountain, which 
stood, like Thomas H. Benton, " solitary and alone," 
while the shallow rivers fumed and fretted at its 
feet, depositing beds of auriferous gravel to be 
scrambled for in after ages. Let us see what the 


Is composed of. Commencing at the top, 
we find indurated volcanic ash, or what 
may be termed trachyte, with some indi- 
cations of columnar cleavage 80 feet. 

Coarse fragments of lava, not hardened, 
forming a loose, porous soil. This is the 
sloping portion, below the bold part of 
the hill 100 feet. 

Bed of volcanic and quartz gravel, contain- 
ing some gold 50 feet. 

(This, on the surrounding hills, is the bed 
upon which is generally superimposed 
the breccia, or unwashed lava, not having 
been rounded by the action of water.) 

Sandstone, resembling granite, suitable for 

building purposes 40 feet. 

(In some of the surrounding hills this 
becomes of a fine red color, owing to the 
presence of sesquioxide of iron. The bal- 
ustrade of the steps of the Court Ilouse in 
Jackson are made of this stone.) 

Clays of different kinds, containing, in 
places, iron ore, sometimes white, some- 
times composed of sand, white as snow, 
supposed to be mostly from volcanic 
material, as in corresponding strata; far- 
ther west, pieces of pumice-stone of fine 
quality abound . 200 feet. 

Carboniferous clays and sandstones, con- 
taining impressions of vegetation, mostly 
of the kinds now growing, such as alder, 
ash, pine, cedar, spruce, with some of 
leaves resembling the palm. The feathers 
of birds are also converted into coal, and 
preserved in the seams of clay 100 feet. 

(These clays are the matrices of the coal 
beds, which vary in thickness from a mere 
stain to several feet.) 
Ferruginous clay, containing spheroidal 
concretions, from a foot to six feet in 
diameter, with impressions of leaves and 
plants. The discovery of an old well, 
with cut stone walls, proved to be the 
lower half of a concretion, the shell of 
which bore much resemblance to a stone 

wall 40 feet. 

Coarse clay and beds of sand, with some 
vegetable remains half converted to coal. 
These veins furnish water for the artesian 
wells; when traced to the mountains 

they become auriferous gravel-beds (*) 150 feet. 

These strata all have a descent to the west of 
about one hundred feet to the mile, and correspond 
nearly with the ascending beds of the ancient east 
and west rivers; thus, continuing the line east at 
Jackson, the elevation of the plain would be about 
twelve hundred feet; at Yolcano twenty-five hun- 
dred. This plain terminates in the present Sacra- 
mento or San Joaquin plain, about five or six 
miles west. The lava flow may be seen in several 
places dipping into the ground, or into the level that 
was once a sea-shore line, as at "W hippies, near the 
Poland Ilouse on the Mokelumne river; on the 
mountain west of J. P. Martin's lower ranch, where 
it forms the crest of the mountain; on the hills 
south of the Newton mine, and, perhaps, in a hun- 
dred other places in the county. 

I have deemed it necessary to particularly notice 
the formation of the foot-hills, because here we have a 
record of the denudation that has gone on in the 
mountains, the separate layers each telling its story. 
Let us examine the lowest formation, which here 
rests on the hardest and most highly metamorphosed 
slate we meet with in the whole series of the foot- 
hills, the slaty structure being very hard to trace. 
These reefs of rocks form the dividing lines, and 
frequently, the boundaries of the valleys; as, for 
instance, the hill near the junction of Dry creek 
with Jackson creek, and the same class of rocks 
north and south of Jackson valley. In looking at 
these one can easily believe they have been a mass 
of boulders, partially melted and fused together. 
You can easily pick out rocks of different kinds, 
which seemed to have formed the original mass, yet 
the geologists tell us that they were never melted; 
that this apparent fusion occurred when the rocks 
were in a plastic state, and that the boulder appear- 
ance is due to the tendency to spheroidal concretion, 
manifested by all plastic substances. The long reefs 
of rocks, smoothed as if with, a plane, show the 
wash of a surf for an indefinite period of time, and 
the subsequent burying by matter, held in suspension, 
indicates a calm, sheltered bay, where the tides and 
currents were gentle. 

*These figures are in round numbers. The depth or thickness 
of the strata constantly varies. 



If we examine the gravel at the base of the slate 
hills, wo shall find no volcanic matter; quartz, 
slate, and granite boulders Only. This would indi- 
cate a considerable period of erosion, of denudation 
of the bills before any eruption of lava. The next 
deposit is mostly destitute of volcanic matter, but 
contains much iron, indicating a breaking down of 
ledges or rocks containing iron and sulphur, as sec- 
ondary sulphurets arc frequent; in fact, much of the 
gravel of this age is cemented by sulphurets; for 
instance, in the lower beds of gravel in Mat Mur- 
ray's claim, at Lancha Plana. 


These contain a great deal of volcanic matter 
which seems to have been carried into the rivers as 
ashes, pumice-stone and seorirc. In many places 
the pumice-stone, as in the hills west of lone, is 
found in considerable quantities. The streams depos- 
iting this were apparently running in broad, shallow 
channels, with but small depression, the layers 
being regular, and sometimes so thin that hundreds 
of different deposits may be found in the thickness 
of a foot. The length of this period seems to have 
been immense. We can conceive something of thenum- 
berof'years necessary to fill up a valley, even like that 
of the Sacramento or San Joaquin with running rivers, 
bankfull of mud, gravel, and sand; but to calculate 
the time a gentle cmu'ent, perhaps only discolored 
with clay, would require to fill an open sea, or bay, 
a hundred feet or more deep, makes quite a draft on 
our stock of time. In this deposit we find the coal- 
beds which seem to be nothing more than masses of 
drift-wood, of the kinds now growing on the sur- 
rounding hills, such as cedar, pine, oak, manzanita 
and alder, the latter being particularly abundant, 
inclosed in the tight clays, and imperfectly carbon- 
ized. This part of the subject will be treated moi*e 
fully under the head of coal. 

If a heavy draft on time was necessary for the 
deposite of the carbonaceous strata, a much heavier 
one is necessary for the overlying clays, which are, 
in places, two hundred feet thick. In some places 
they are alternate with beds of infusorial earth, 
which could have been deposited only in clear water 
holding silex, not in suspension, but in solution, as a 
hundredth, or perhaps a thousandth part of an inch 
of mud would have destroyed the insects which 
build these little shells. 

These clays have an economic value, as fine pottery 
is being made from them, and it is quite probable 
that porcelain will, at no distant day, be manu- 
factured, using the clays and quartz of the higher 


There is little volcanic matter in this. The 
deposit shows a breaking down of granitic rocks, 
and a more vigorous wash of the streams, indicating 
an increased altitude of the mountains, and conse- 
quently a greater carrying power to the water. 


For the first time in our record, we find a volcanic 
boulder in the drift. The volcanoes now disgorge 
lava, solid rock, instead of ashes and scoria?, and aro 
evidently in full operation, the streams being all at 
work. In many places the lava deposits quite hide 
the rock-beds heretofore traversed by the streams, 
as the drift is composed wholly of volcanic boulders 
which cover thousands of acres, in fact, half the hills 
of the county seem capped with them. They arc 
hard, almost indestructible, and, wherever a mass 
has been deposited, effectually protect the ground 
from erosion. 

Breccia, or lava, is found still higher than the 
bouldei*s, and sometimes has completely filled the 
channels, turning the rivers into entirely new 
courses. These masses of lava flowing red hot to 
the sea, must have presented a magnificent sight to 
man, if he existed. Boulders of considerable size 
are found in the lava, but were probably formed by 
spheroidal concretion, or by being rolled or crowded 
along while in a partially melted state. This formed 
the climax of volcanic action. But for the presence 
of volcanic ash on the breccia, or lava, we might 
conclude that the volcanoes ceased their working 
after the terrific outpour of lava, but it would seem 
that they quieted down gradually, perhaps were in 
their old age for centuries. Extensive as the flow 
was, Amador county was only on the outer edge of 
the volcanic action; farther north the whole country, 
for thousands of square miles, was covered so deeply 
that no rivers have cut their way through it. If it 
buried gold mines, they are still there. This outflow 
of lava and boulders pushed the shore-line of the 
bay some seven or eight miles farther out, burying 
the drift-wood hundreds of feet deep. If we could 
have seen Amador county at this time, it would have 
presented the appearance of a vast plain with a few 
peaks, like the Butte mountain, and a few of the 
higher points west of the quartz belt, standing 
above the mass of lava and boulders. It could have 
had no vegetation, any more than the Modoc lava- 
bed. What a few acres are now, barren and sterile, 
the whole county was then. It could have sustained 
no vegetation. Some of the places are left, especially 
in the upper parts of the county. 

It must not bo inferred that a uniform mass of 
lava covered the county. The same water-shed as 
now sent its streams to the sea, meandering upon the 
plain, piling up here gravel and there sand, chang- 
ing their courses frequently. Nearly all the strata, 
described in this chapter as belonging to the Buena 
Vista mountain, thin out as we strike the slates, and 
many are entirely lost; a few of the more extensive, 
like the lava boulder and clay formations, have their 
representatives in the more elevated parts of the 


A new actor comes upon the scene. From being' 
covered with streams of melted lava, flowing in a 


TOMPSON £ wesr^ OA hlano. 




fiery stream to tire sea, the ice king throws his 
mantle over it, and claims it for his own. As in all 
the rest of North America, or at least the northern 
part of it, the falling snows accumulated thousands 
of 3'ears, until, compacted into ice, the}' were miles 
in depth. There is not room here to prove the 
glacial theory. One must read it for themselves, 
or look for its track in our mountain canons, or on 
our long sloping plains. They must see, as the 
author has seen, the piles of rock, miles in extent, 
heaped up by them, and the vast surfaces worn 
away, smoothed down as with a gigantic plane, 
which it is; then the track of a glacier will be 
recognized, as easily as the track of a land-slide. 
These glaciers reached to the sea-line, though the 
heaviest work was done towards the summits. These 
great masses of ice move, slowly it is true, twenty 
or thirty feet in a year, forcing along everything in 
their way that is movable. Granite boulders, twenty 
feet in diameter, are held in the ice as in a vice, 
and cut their way through lava, through slate, and 
through granite, leaving the powdered debris to be 
carried off in the melting stream, in the shape of 
clay. How long these streams continued is uncer- 
tain; long enough to erode deep canons in the 
hardest rocks. Silver lake is a glacial erosion, for 

years it moved down the canon below Silver 

lake, down the American river, cutting its way with 
irresistible force; but the glacial epoch had its time, 
and the ice king slowly surrendered his dominions, 
retreating up the mountain sides, stubbornly con- 
testing each foot of ground. At Silver lake, he 
made a last stand before a complete surrender. The 
ice could get no farther 'than the outlet of the lake, 
and melted at that point. Here were accumulated 
the broken and worn-out tools, used in the excava- 
tion, piled up in a great mass across the lower end 
of the lake. These dams, or piles of rocks, so well 
known to geologists, are called moraines, and always 
mark the retreat of a glacier. The outlet of the 
lake has not yet worn much below the channel, left 
at the melting of the great mass. Those who are 
curious enough to examine them, may find several 
small glaciers, a few acres in extent, around the 
lake. We may well believe that a mass of ice a 
couple of miles in depth, forced along by several 
miles more upon the mountain sides, could scoop out 
a basin like Silver lake, or even like Tahoe lake, 
which is also a glacier erosion. The basin of Volcano 
is also a glacial erosion, the glacier melting and 
leaving a lake nearly a hundred feet deep, which 
shrunk away as the waters cut the canon deeper. 
The limestone, sometimes smoothed as if hammered 
and polished, and then, again, honey-combed by the 
streams flowing from the melting mass of ice, have 
kept a faithful record of the matter. Butte basin 
is also another glacial erosion, with this difference, 
liowever, it w r as filled up within a short time after 
the melting of the ice. The long sloping valleys 
around Jackson, Sutter, Amador, and Plymouth, 

have the same origin. As a general thing, a valley 
with the bed-rock near the surface, worn smoothly 
away, without regard to the character of the rock, 
is the result of glacier erosion, as is also a long, 
straight, or nearly straight, channel of a creek. A 
crooked channel, dodging the hard places, is a water 
erosion. The present channels of the streams are 
below the channels eroded by the glaciers, from one 
hundred to four hundred feet, so that the track of 
the glaciers must be looked for on higher ground. 

If we could take a section a few miles in depth, 
out of the mountains between lone and Volcano, the 
appearance would be something like the following 
rough drawing: — 


We will suppose "A" to be in the vicinity of lone; 
" B " to represent the serpentine range which passes 
the Mountain Spring House; "C" to be the ridge 
west of Jackson, Sutter Creek, Amador, and Ply- 
mouth, and " D " to be the ridge west of Volcano and 
the principal marble range, these points being the axes 
of elevation, no attempt being made to preserve the 
relative distances. Further examination might show 
another axis of elevation between the Mother Lode, 
as it is called, and the limestone range, but the pres- 
ent diagram is accurate enough to illustrate the 
theory of denudation, the mineral veins and the 
ancient valleys. It will be seen from this that a 
great portion of the elevation is gone. It may have 
been, probably was, miles in depth, for the lime- 
stones that now form such prominent objects in 
many parts of the county are destitute of fossils, 
with a high crystalline formation, which changes 
could have been accomplished only under the pres- 
sure of a superincumbent mass of perhaps, miles in 
depth. The same pressure was requisite to obliterate 
the fossils of the metamorphic rocks constituting the 
summits of the hills at the axes of the elevations. If 
any one should object to this as involving too great a 
removal of earth, a question as to the source of the 
material forming the San Joaquin and Sacramento 
valleys might prepare his mind to assent to the 


The present rivers intersect these ridges or for- 
mer mountain ranges, yet there are many facte 
showing a system of rivers running parallel with 
these lines of elevation. Looking at these mountains 
in a clear day, from an elevated point on the Saci*a- 
mento plains, one may easily trace the course of 
these rivers by their banks which have been only 
partially obliterated. From Bear Mountain in Cala- 
veras to the ridges west of the lower end of Indian 
creek, in the northern part of the county, and the 



ridges west of the quartz mines of Nashville and 
Aunim City, the marks of an ancient valley arc 
unmistakable, The other valleys, though not so 
prominent, may be easily (raced. The gravel beds 
also furnish another ineontestible proof of the exist- 
ence of these valleys. The glacial erosion did not 
wholly obliterate the beds of the ancient rivers. 
Beginning with Tunnel bill, where we find a large 
deposit, wo pass northward, passing Jackson, which 
we find to be in the track of a glacier, to the hills 
east of the Gate, when we again come upon the river 
bed. North of the Gate it passes under the lava 
ridge, shows itself on the east side of the town of 
Sutter Creek in several places, though it is somewhat 
obscured where the cast and west streams intersect it. 
An examination of the gi'avel will generally determine 
the age of the stream. As the stream we are follow- 
ing existed previous to the volcanic era. we shall find 
few or no boulders of that formation. East of Ama- 
dor and Plymouth the traces are nearly obliterated. 
Snake Flat, east of the Cover mine, probably is a 
relic of the river. East of Volcano we also find the 
same evidence of former streams. Prospect hill, 
now overgrown with pines, Humbug hill, and the 
hills in the vicinity of Spanish gulch, the hills farther 
up the forks of Sutter Creek, Mason's claim, Hall's 
claim, the Italian claim, — all belong to that age of 
deposit. The streams mustnot be confounded with the 
subsequent rivers which intersected all that we are 
speaking of. The rivers of the first instance were 
shallow, meandering along valleys of considerable 
width, following no certain direction and frequently 
changing their channels. The quartz boulders 
abounding in these channels do not indicate a power- 
ful stream but rather a steady wear; furthermore, 
the boulders, especially the heavy ones, were not 
moved far from the veins, which usually may be 
found within a short distance. It is highly probable 
that the actual elevation of these rivers was much less 
than at present. Perhaps at this time a description 
of the great lead of California may be introduced as 
showing the character of the rivers existing previous 
to the volcanic era. This description is taken from 
the Overland Monthly, and is worthy the attention of 
all desirous of a knowledge of the former systems of 
rivers. We propose to show in a future chapter the 
possible continuation of the river into this county, 
all traces of it having been, according to our best 
authorities, lost. 


" What is a dead river ?" 

" The simplest reply to this natural question would 
be, that a dead river is one which formerly existed, 
but exists no longer. In volcanic regions it some- 
times happens that the liquid lava,' seeking the 
lowest ground, fills up the beds of rivers which would 
die, and are replaced by water courses running in 
other channels, and in different directions. These 
dead streams are so few and of little importance 
elsewhere, that as yet, no class-name has been given 
them; but in California they are among the chief 

sources of its mineral wealth, and among the most 
remarkable features of its geological formation. 
They lake us back to a remote era, before the time 
of Rome, or Creece, or Egypt, far hack beyond the 
origin of history or tradition, before our coast had 
taken its present shape; before the Sierra Nevada 
had risen to its present elevation; before Shasta, 
and Lassen, and Castle Peaks, had poured out their 
lava -floods; before the Sacramento river had its 
birth, and while, if not before, the mastodon, the 
elephant, the rhinoceros, the horse, the mammoth 
bull, the tapir, and the bison, lived in the land. 
They are indeed among the most remarkable dis- 
coveries of the age, and among the greatest wonders 
of geology. They deserve some common name, and 
we have to choose between 'extinct' and ' dead.' 
We speak of ' extinct volcanoes,' and of ' dead 
languages,' and as the latter is Saxon and short, we 
preterit. They had been called ' old channels,' but 
this name does not convey the proper idea, since a 
channel is not necessarily a river, and an old channel 
is not necessarily a dead one. A dead river is a 
channel formerly occupied by a running stream, but 
now filled up with earthy or rocky matter, and is 
not to be confounded with a channel that is open 
and remains dry during the greater part of the year 
because of a lack of water, or that has been aban- 
doned by the stream for a deeper channel elsewhere.. 
A dry river bed is not a dead river. 

" The dead rivers of California, so far as known, are 
on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, from 
five hundred to seven thousand feet above the sea. 
They are auriferous, and therefore they have been 
sought for and examined. They have yielded prob- 
ably $300,000,000 in all; they now produce perhaps 
$8,000,000 annually. They are not less interesting, 
therefore/to the miner than to the geologist; not less 
important to the statesman than to the antiquarian. 

"The largest dead river is known as 'the Big; 
Blue Lead,' and has been traced from Little Grizzly, 
about latitude thirty-nine degrees and forty-five 
minutes, in Placer county, a distance of sixty-five 
miles. The course is south-south-east, the position 
about thirty miles west of, and parallel with, the 
main divide of the Sierra Nevada. The elevation is 
five thousand feet above the sea at Little Grizzly, 
and two thousand eight hundred at Forest Hill, 
showing an average fall of thirty- three feet per mile. 
The live rivers of the Sierra Nevada run at right 
angles to the course' of the range, and have cut 
canons from fifteen hundred to three thousand feet 
deep, and they are separated by ridges which are 
from three to six miles apart, and are as high as the 
canons are deep. The Blue Lead runs across these 
ridges from two hundred to one thousand feet below 
their summits. The traveler does not see any signs 
of a dead river in these ridges, which are as high 
and have the same general appearance at the Blue 
Lead as at other places. I shall presentty tell how 
the miner discovers the lead, but before coming to 
that, I want to give you a clear idea how the dead 
river crosses the ridges. Take a piece of common 
ruled cap paper; put your pen on a line, draw it up 
at an angle of forty -five degrees to the second line 
above, then down the first line at the same angle, 
and so on until the line made by your pen looks like 
eight rectangular saAV-teeth, which are about an 
inch high. Consider those teeth as the ridges of the 
Sierra Nevada on the line of the Blue Lead in Sierra 
county, and the intervals between them as the 
canons. Write over the first caflon to the left, 
'Canon creek;' over the next, ' Goodyear's creek; 



and over the others consecutively, ' North Fork of 
the Yuba river,' 'Rock creek,' ' Oregon ravine,' ' West 
ravine,' and ' Middle Yuba.' Now draw a horizontal 
line across all the ridges, a quarter of an inch from 
their tops. That line is the Blue Lead. The diagram 
made as directed, represents a perpendicular section 
of the ridges and canons of the Sierra Nevada, on 
the line of the Big Blue Lead in Sierra county as 
seen from the west. 

" I have said that the traveler would see no sign of 
a dead river in riding over the country. The ridges 
are as high on its line as elsewhere; the canon sides 
present the same appearance. Years elapsed before 
the miners discovered the existence of the ancient 
channel. But it required only a few months for the 
discovery that the live rivers were very rich in gold 
up to a certain point; that the abundance and size 
of the particles increased as they ascended up to that 
point; and that beyond or east of that point the 
streams were poor. Those points on the different 
streams were nearly on a line. Just there the ravines 
on the sides of the canons were very rich, and they 
were comparatively poor elsewhere. The miners fol- 
lowed up the raviues, washing the dirt in their beds, 
and the dirt where the ravines were not too steep 
was a foot or two deep over the slate rock. At last, 
when the miners got near the top of the ridge, they- 
found that the narrow, shallow rock-bed of the 
ravine suddenly disappeared, and the body of the 
hill was composed of gravel, which had a peculiar 
blue color, and part of it, a horizontal stratum about 
half a mile wide from east to west, and five feet 
thick, was very rich in gold. They looked after the 
metal and paid little attention to anything else. As 
the stratum ran across the ridges from north to south, 
the miners followed it in with adits, or tunnels, and 
in more than one place the tunnels met; and a few 
years ago it was customary for footmen passing 
between Monticello and Excelsior to go underground 
a distance of a mile rather than to climb over the 
hill six hundred feet high, by a path nearly two 
miles long. In the same manner Forest City and 
Alleghany were connected by a continuous tunnel; 
but the timbers have rotted, the roof has fallen in, 
and the passage is now closed. 

" The auriferous deposit is gravel, mixed with boul- 
ders, clay, and sand, varying from a hundred to three 
hundred feet in depth; in strata, distinguished from 
one another by differences in color, in the size of the 
boulders and gravel, and in the number and size of 
the particles of gold. The predominant color is 
bluish-gray, dark at the bottom and lighter above, 
with a reddish tinge in those places that have long 
been exposed to the air, showing the presence of iron. 
The material of the boulders, gravel and sand, is 
almost exclusively quartz. In the whole length of 
the river, as traced for a distance of sixty-five "miles, 
assuming that the deposits of gravel average half a 
mile wide and two hundred feet deep, there were, 
counting in the portions Avhich have been washed 
away by the live rivers, six billion six hundred and 
sixty million cubic yards of quartz and clay, and the 
quartz alone must have measured five billion cubic 
yards. In the live rivers, quartz forms only a small 
portion of the gravel. 

" Whence came all the quartz of the Big Blue ? 
How did it happen that no granite, slate, porphyry, 
basalt or sandstone was buried in its bed? If all the 
quartz veins now known in California were cleaned 
out to a depth of one hundred feet, they would not 
supply so much as is found in sixty-five miles of a 
river that must have run for many hundreds of miles. 

The gravel is all water- worn, and rounded by long 
attrition. It came from far north. A piece of rough 
quartz, while being carried five hundred miles in the 
fiercest of our. mountain streams, would not be worn 
so smooth as is every pebble in the Blue Lead. And 
the immense size of the boulders implies a mighty 
current. Those in the lowest stratum average, in 
some places, a ton, and many are found of twenty tons. 
These are worn as smooth as the pebbles. They 
are not found scattered here and there as though 
they had tumbled down the banks of the river near 
the spot where they are found; but they are evenly 
distributed in a stratum of equal thickness across the 
whole bed, and for miles in length. Above that may 
be a stratum of larger ones. The great river 
handled these masses of rock with as much apparent 
ease, and spread them out as evenly, as if they had 
been no larger than pigeons' eggs. 

" The particles of gold are larger in size, and con- 
tain more silver at the bottom than at the top. The 
smaller pieces are in the upper strata and as they 
have a larger surface proportionately, the silver is 
eaten out by the sulphurous acid which is developed 
in the gravel by the oxidation of pyrites. If a 
double eagle and twenty one-dollar pieces are thrown 
into a solution of vitriol and left there for several 
weeks, the small pieces will, at the end of that time, 
contain a larger proportion of gold than the large 
one; and for a similar reason the surface placer gold 
is finer chemically than that obtained from the 
deeper strata. As a general rule, the deep gold is 
nine hundred fine, or is worth eighteen dollars and 
sixty cents per ounce, and the surface gold is nine 
hundred and twenty fine, and is worth nineteen dol- 
lars in the Big Blue Lead. The gold and gravel are 
deposited as in the live rivers, in the banks, bars, 
eddies, ripples and rapids. 

"The richest places have contained as much as fifty 
dollars to the cubic yard of the lower stratum, or if 
the large boulders were left out of the estimate, to 
two or three cubic feet. The space between the 
boulders is filled with sand, clay, and gravel, which 
contains the gold. In the upper strata there are from 
fifty cents to two dollars to the cubic yard. The bed 
is of slate rock, and the banks are from fifty to three 
hundred feet high; but there are few places where 
they have been examined, for nowhere has all the 
gravel been washed away across the channel. 

"But how was it possible that the bed of a large 
river could be filled three hundred feet deep with 
gravel? When the miners in 1850 to 1852, flumed 
the live rivers of California, and took the gold from 
their beds, they found a deposit of gravel that did 
not average more than five feet deep on the bed 
rock, in streams that ran in canons one thousand 
feet deep; and it is strange that the Big Blue should 
have filled its bed with gravel. Yet this filling is 
not without an analogue of our day. Under the 
influence of hydraulic washing, Bear river and Yuba 
river have, within the last fifteen years, begun to 
fill up with gravel, and their beds have, for miles, 
risen seventy feet or more above the levels of 1853. 
This gravel is auriferous, and it is deposited in strata, 
and the arrangements and,general appearance resem- 
ble those of the Big Blue Lead. The filling up began 
down in the valley, and as it ascended the current 
became less rapid, and lost the power to carry away 
the gravel. In Bear river, below Dutch Flat, the 
bed rises two feet per month during the chief wash- 
ing season, from Februaiy to September, and in the 
remaining months it falls on account of the stoppage 
of washing and of the Winter floods, which carry 



off perhaps half of the accumulation of the Summer. 

"Some persons claim thai various camps on parts 
ol dead rivers in Plumas county, are on the Big 
Blue Lead, and others think thai portions of a dead 
river, near Placerville, belong to the same stream. 
I do not accepl these theories, bul if they arc true, 
the Big Blue river has been traced about one hun- 
dred and ten miles. In the northern part of Plumas 
county, the ri\er i- buried under deep heds of lava 
and basalt, and south of Placerville it is probably 
helow the level ol' the live streams, and thus cannot 
be found by any system of mining or mode of pros- 
pecting now in use. Even in places where it is 
above the level of the live streams, it may be cov- 
ered on the sides of the canons by slides of rock or 
barren dirt or gravel, and the miner might spend 
thousands of dollars in a vain search for treasures 
not ten feet from his drift, as many have done, and 
some accident, luck, or perseverance, afterwards 
proved the proximity of the rich deposit. In sev- 
eral cases the lead was found by calculation. The 
miner took his position on a hill-side, on a level 
with other camps, and in a few days he found a 
fortune; and others have spent years working on a 
similar plan without success. The river must have 
taken bends on the north side of Eoek creek and 
Oregon ravine, and twelve years of searching have 
not revealed the position of the bends. 

" But why did the Big Blue river die, and leave 
nothing but its gravel and its gold to tell the story of 
its greatness ? The main cause must have been the 
subsequent rise of the Sierra Nevada. Suppose that 
a range of mountains, seven thousand feet high were 
upheaved thirty miles east of the Mississippi; that the 
bed of the stream were on the mountain side, three 
thousand feet above the sea, and that thirty miles west 
the country retained its present level; the result 
would be that the present Mississippi would soon be 
a dead river; it would be cut across by streams run- 
ning down the mountain side, and pouring into a 
new Mississippi, thirty miles or more west of the 
present one. We know that the Sierra Nevada has 
been upheaved; that a large stream ran on what is 
now the mountain side; and that it has been suc- 
ceeded by a new river farther west; and we must 
infer that the death of the old and the birth of the 
newriver*was caused by the upheaval. 

" Many of the hills crossed by the Big Blue are 
capped with lava or basalt, which covered much of 
the country from near the summit of the range to 
about three thousand feet above the sea. It seems 
then that the river filled its bed with gravel; the 
mountains began to rise, and volcanoes broke out 
along the divide; the lava ran down and covered the 
land to the line of the dead river and beyond it; 
the mountains rose still higher, and the waters run- 
ning down their sides cut through the lava and 
made deep canons, and washed away two-thirds or 
three-fourths of the dead river, and scattered its 
gold among the living waters. 

"The descent of thirty -three feet per mile 
observed between Little Grizzly and Forest Hill 
would make a terrific current in a stream half a mile 
wide. The Sacramento is a lively river, yet its grade 
is only five feet in a mile. But no ordinary current 
could have carried the large quartz boulders of the 
Big Blue Lead from distant regions and distributed 
them evenly over the river bed. It is possible, how- 
ever, that in the lifting up of the mountains the rela- 
tive elevations have been altered, and that the 
present grade differs from that of the Big Blue while 
it was alive. 

■ A question suggests ii-'-H whether the great dead 
river was the predecessor of any living stream; but 

to this no satisfactory answer can now be given; 
and it is doubtful whether time and research will 
ever furnish one. The Big Blue was parallel to the 
Sacramento and has to a certain extent been suc- 
ceeded by it; but it drained a much larger district 
than the Sacramento docs, or the rain-fall of the 
country was much greater in the era of its existence. 
The Sacramento does not carry one-fourth of the water 
which ran in the Big Blue — probably not one-tenth. 
If we could ascertain that the quantity of rain had 
not altered, then we should be justified in presuming 
that the Columbia rivcr,wbich would just about fill the 
bed of the Big Blue, instead of turning westward at 
Walla Walla, originally continued southward, until 
the lifting up of Shasta and Lassen, and the adjacent 
ridges, stopped its course, and compelled it to break 
through the Cascade range at the Dalles. With our 
present limited knowledge, we are not justified in 
calling the Big Blue river either the dead Sacra- 
mento or the dead Columbia. 

"Some persons have argued that the Big Blue Lead 
never was a river, but only a lacustrine or alluvial 
deposit. This theory, however, is untenable. The 
Big Blue Lead has all the marks which a dead river 
should have. It has a long course; a width nearly 
uniform, a course nearly straight, some bends with 
eddies on the inner side, a peculiar quartz unlike any 
found in the neighboring ridges, or in the streams 
to the eastward, an abundance of quartz, which no 
place now known to us could have supplied, and 
which came, probably, from a distant northern region 
now covered with lava,* water-worn gravel, which 
must have been carried far; flat stones pointing 
down stream, as a current would place them; strata 
of coarse and fine gravel, which must have been 
deposited in a stream; a uniform, descending grade; 
the coarse particles of gold, which could not have 
been distributed so evenly over a wide channel except 
in a strong current; an immense quantity of gold, 
which required ages to scatter through a deposit 
three hundred feet deep; drift-wood unmistakably 
water- w T orn; trunks of trees with the butts up 
stream; tributary brooks, and a number of other 
evidences which would require more space for their 
description and explanation than I could spare. To 
say that the Big Blue is not a dead river, is equiva- 
lent to saying that the bones of the mastodon never 
belonged to a living animal, but were formed under 
geological influences exclusively. 

" If this were the only dead river in the State, the 
proof would be less conclusive, but there are a dozen 
others. One which runs south-westwardly, and may 
be called the dead Brandy river, appears at La Port, 
Brandy City, Camptonville and North San Juan, and 
is marked by the same general characteristics, save 
that the gravel is finer, the pebbles in the upper strata 
being generally not larger than a pigeon's egg. 

" In Tuolumne and Calaveras counties we have the 
dead Stanislaus, or Tuolumne table mountain, which 
runs from near Silver mountain, in Alpine, to 
Knight's Ferry, and there disappears. It is covered 
by a bed of basalt, which flowed as lava from a vol- 
cano, and filled up the ancient bed; and this basalt 
has resisted the elements, and now stands as a 
mountain forty miles long, a quarter of a mile wide, 
and eight hundred feet high, the softer adjacent 
slate rock having been wasted and washed away. 
Under this mountain lies a dead river, rich in gold. 
A similar table mountain of basalt, covering an aurif- 
erous dead river, which I call the dead Cherokee, 








after its chief mining camp, extends seventy miles, 
from Lassen's Peak to Oroville. At Bangor, in 
Butte county, is a small dead river, seventy feet below 
the general surface of the ground, and covered with 
ordinary soil and gravel. There are also dead riv- 
ers at Smartsville, Mokelumne Hill and San Andreas. 
The Big Blue and dead Brandy are distinguished by 
the depth of their gravel, and by the absence of 
pebbles of eruptive origin in it. The others have 
either short courses or shallow deposits of gravel; 
and the quartz' forms a much smaller percentage of 
the gravel. In the dead rivers at Cherokee, Ban- 
gor, and Smartsville, a large proportion of the boul- 
ders and pebbles is of lava and basalt, as if the 
stream had been formed after the commencement 
of the volcanic era. But different as is the material 
of the gravel, the fluvial origin of the deposits is sim- 
ilar and indubitable in all of them, when they are 
studied together." 

It may be presumptive to offer any suggestion as 
to the source of the immense stream which formed 
or deposited this lead. The suggestion that it might 
have been the Columbia river before it had broken 
its way through the Dalles, is perhaps worth con- 
sidering. Another suggestion may be permitted. 
Those who have crossed the Utah basin, will have 
noticed the water lines far up on the sides of the 
mountains, showing that it was formerly an inland 
sea, or lake, larger than any now on the continent, 
which might have had its outlet through some of 
the passes in the Sierra, ere its waters were lapped 
up by the dessicating winds. This suggestion is 
made for the benefit of the future geologist. The 
question may be decided when the great lava bed, 
which buried up the supposed channel of the river, 
shall have been explored, and its secrets laid bare. 
For the present we may lay this question aside, as 
one too momentous for our present limited infor- 
mation. How long these rivers pursued their course, 
where they emptied, and into what waters, are also 
matters for future investigation. The deposits of 
clay which marked this era, indicated an almost 
interminable period. We may be inclined to ask, 
Of what use was the earth at this time? 


But there came an end to this sleepy, easy flow 
of events. The volcanoes, which had so long sent 
forth only mud and ashes, now took on an indus- 
trious fit, and commenced pouring out lava without 
stint, choking up the former channels, and, in some 
instances, burying them under three or four hun- 
dred feet of lava. It is probable that previous to 
this, many, or perhaps all, of these rivers had worn 
a way through the low mountains which hemmed 
them in, and found their way to the sea; but the 
Uava forced them to form channels in a new direc- 
tion. The low mountain barriers were overflowed. 
The rivers, running with an increased velocity, now 
swept along great boulders of lava, granite, slate, or 
whatever came in their way. On a ridge between 
Amador and Sutter, some miles below the towns, 
may be seen boulders ten feet in diameter, which 
appear to have been left at the foot of a long descend- 
ing portion of the river. Many times the new rivers 
would choke up, compelling the water, again and 
again, to seek new channels. These channels, in 
many places, occupy the ridges between the present 
river beds, sometimes at a height of six hundred 


The surface having been considered, the stratified 
rocks may next claim attention. These all dip into 
the ground at various angles, sometimes with pitch 
to the east, and sometimes to the west. In these 
stratified rocks are found our valuable metals; and 
any theory of vein formation, to be of value, must 
consider them as a unity. Commencing at the foot 
of the mountains, at the lowest formation visible, 
at lone, Lancha Plana, and the corresponding places 
farther north, we find the strata in the following 
order. I have set the names of the strata to cor- 
respond somewhat with the position of the rocks 
named, and also have elevated, and otherwise noted, 
the metamorphic rocks which formed the summits 
of the ancient valleys. 






























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It must not be supposed that any stratum pre- 
serves a uniform character for any distance. Only a 
few of the great veins or ranges like the serpentine 
and the other metamorpbic can be traced in this 
way. Whether from currents in the ocean deposit- 
ing different .materials previous to the upturning of 
the slates, or from subsequent change by translation 
of minerals, or both, the slates change in character 
every mile or two. The black slate will change to 
gray, then to quartzose, or perhaps to syenite. The 
metamorpbic is often thinned out bj^ other rocks. In 
some place the serpentine is two miles wide, in 
others nearly wanting, so that a description of rocks 
at lone might not fully apply to the rocks four or five 
miles further north. 

The metamorphic rocks near lone, Lancha Plana 
and Buena Vista, which have been referred to before, 
may be taken as a starting-point. These do not 
form a continuous reef, but here stand as detached 
masses probably eroded as before mentioned by the 
waves of the sea. Along the junction of this with 
the black slate are some of the largest quartz veins in 
the county. One of them may be seen near Randal's 
ranch near lone, one at Mrs. Nichol's place near 
Buena Vista, and at several other places. That one 
on Randal's ranch has been sunk on some eighty feet 
or more without finding anything of value. Where 
these veins have been subjected to sea wash, as at 
Muletown, and, perhaps, the Arkansas diggings, they 
have made good placer mining. Irish Hill was 
enriched by a mountain stream, as the gravel is com- 
posed of entirely different rocks from that of Mule- 
town. The hill east of lone is probably sea wash, of 
the same age as the Muletown deposit. The sea- 
shore line may be easily traced by the bench-like 

Near the foot-wall of this belt are the Cosumnes, 
the Arroyo Seco, Lancha Plana, and other copper 
mines. On the opposite side of this belt is the New- 
ton Coppermine, as well as several others of promise. 
The reader is requested to note the fact of paying- 
mines being found in the vicinity of these hard slates, 
though these slates themselves scarcely ever contain 
any mineral of value. In the intermediate space are 
many veins containing copper and other minerals in 
small quantities. Near the Boston ranch some 
small veins of quartz are estimated to have five 
dollars to the ton, but they seem to thin out and 
ramify through the ground so as to be unprofitable to 
work, though many ravines have been enriched by 
them. Some veins of steatite (soap-stone) have con- 
siderable gold in them visible to the eye, but no one, 
as yet, has been able to separate it. The gulches 
running from this range have been rich. Near Irish 
Hill is the Kirkendall district which was thought to 
be rich in quartz veins, but the expectations have not 
been realized. 


This is a striking formation of metamorphic rock, 
so twisted, contorted and scraggy, that it has been 

considered by many as of volcanic origin. The point 
between Jackson and Stony Creek was thought to be 
an old crater. A close investigation shows it to be slate, 
and the ragged, contorted appearance to be the result 
of the substitution of magnesia for potash in the com- 
position of the rock. Chromate of iron abounds in it, 
a vein of it near the Westfalls' ranch being nearly 
three feet thick. Hundreds of small quartz veins, as 
well as other ore chimneys, may be Been within a 
mile or two while walking along this range. Vogan 
has used many of these veins for road material. 
When sunk on they often turn to clay, and many of 
them are known by being sinks in the ground, or 
sometimes pot-holes of clay. Silver, gold, and 
copper are all found in these chimneys in small quan- 
tities. They were formerly explored for copper. 
These ore deposits may be a continuation of those 
found on the west side of the lower metaliferous 
range. Farther east are many small quartz veins 
with considerable gold, though the veins are too nar- 
row to be worked with profit. Limestone is found in 
many places on this range. Not far from the Filmer 
ranch is a large deposit which burns into good lime; 
though many of the deposits contain too much silica 
or magnesia for that purpose, being perhaps a kind 
of dolomite. It is too dark colored and too hard for 
ornamental purposes. On the Mokelumne river, near 
the head of the Lancha Plana ditch, is a curious 
formation of lime, resembling a frozen waterfall. It 
is somewhat obscured by the dirt which has fallen 
over it, but is well worth an examination. 

A short distance below is an iron spring, a good il- 
lustration of an active ore deposit, a formation of iron 
ore constantly going on, which is every year carried 
away by the high waters of the river. The ore is 
probably the result of the percolation of water 
through decomposing sulphurets not far away. 
Passing east we strike another belt of metamorphic 
slates in places two miles in width. This may be 
considered the great foot-wall of the Mother Lode, 
also the most prominent indication of the largest 
valley, following the ranges of mountains, that 
existed in this county. As the Mother Lode has been, 
and is now, perhaps, the source of more gold than 
any space of the same width and length in the world, 
and, from its having been worked deeper and better 
than any other place, furnishes more material for a 
scientific account of the formation of quartz veins, 
the consideration of it will be deferred to another 
chapter. It may be said of it that it probably fur- 
nished the gold with which the streams once running 
parallel to it were enriched, as well as the streams 
which now cross it, also the larger part of the 
gold that enriched the gravel diggings at the foot- 
hills. It is probable that the stream debouched into 
the Mokelumne or through that depression for a 
long time before the volcanic era, as there are no 
large deposits of gravel along the foot-hills near the 
outlet of the present streams that are of sufficient 
amount to have been produced by its wash. 



Kasi df the Mother Lode, which musl be consid- 
ered never less than two hundred, and sometimes 
two thousand, feet wide, there is little quartz that 

lias any value. We find veins of slale and syenite 
alternating with each oilier. Some of the gulches are 
enriched hy the wash of the great streams of gravel 
that resulted in the breaking up of the first system 
of rivers. Nearly half of the ground around Pine 
Grove seems to he a relic of this wash; streams of 
gravel, some rich and some nearly barren, traversing 
the hills in all possible directions. The quartz veins 
near the last metamorphic range spoken of are prob- 
ably connected by a sort of geological, umbilical cord 
with the Mother Lode, though vastly inferior to it in 
wealth. The veins have not regularity of pitch or 
strike, sometimes breaking through the slate across 
the rift and frequently losing themselves in extensive 
ramifications. In places they are very rich, thirty or 
forty dollars per ton not being uncommon. 




Extensive Character of the Subject — Mother Lode — Methods 
of "Vein Depo'its — Character of the Veins East of the 
Mother Lode — Minerals in the Tertiary Rocks — Nature of 
the Limestones — Gravel Deposits — Nature of the Supposed 
Photographic Rock — Evidences of Glaciers — Moving Large 
Rocks — Volcanoes — Origin of the Trap Rock — Origin of the 
Smaller Quartz Veins — Butte Mountain — Copper — Iron 
— Gvpsum — Asbestos — Marble — Kaolin — Manganese- Agate 
— Chalcedony — Skeletons of the Megatherium — Other Fos- 
sils — Rhinoceros — Hippopotamus — Horse Destruction of the 
Arcadian Land — Botany. 

[The following chapter on technical geology, by 
a professional mining expert, will please the more 
scientific of the readers of this work. The writer 
is amply competent to write an extended and 
exhaustive treatise on the subject of geology or 
practical mining. — Editor.] 

To the geologist and mining explorer, Amador 
county offers the most interesting field of research 
to be found in the State, containing, as it does 
within its limits, the most extensive quartz deposits 
to be found on the western slope of the Sierras. 
The great Mother Lode passes entirely across the 
county in a northerly and southerly direction. At 
the Keystone mine (Amador) the course of the vein 
is: south forty-two degrees, twenty-six minutes 
east; north forty-two degrees, twenty-six minutes 
west. Inclination of east wall of fissure, fifty 
degrees; the east hanging wall is a metamorphic 
silicious slate; and what is known, along the lode, 
as the west wall rock, or foot- wall, is a blue-black, 
laminated slate. These laminated slates on the 
west may not be the true foot-wall, as we find, one- 
fourth of a mile to the west, a simalar parellel wall 
of metamorphic slate, although it does not contain 
the silica found in the east wall rock. 

Between these widely divided parallel walls of 
metamorphic slates, we find numerous stringers of 

quartz, from the width of a knife-blade to many 
feet. The main Mother Lode, however, is found run- 
ning along the east hanging-wall rock, but in some 
instances it haves (he same and varies to the west. 
In the Keystone, at Amador, the vein leaves the east 
wall, and, for a space of four hundred feet, does not 
return to it. In the same mine we find the entire 
width of the quartz deposit, as far as penetrated 
to the west, nearly one hundred and fifty feet. At 
the Empire mine, Plymouth, the vein is seventy-five 
feet in width. At the Zeile mine, one-half mile south 
of Jackson, the vein is thirty to forty feet at its 
greatest width. 

Stringers and feeders, from the country rock in 
geological times, earned the silicious waters to the 
main fissure, where it deposited its lode of silica 
that went to form the vein. This lode gives indubit- 
able evidence of the manner in which it was formed, 
to wit: b\ r infiltration from the country rock, mostly 
from the east. The east hanging-wall, in many 
places along the line of the fissure, is a ciystalline, 
metamorphic slate, which has been changed by beat 
and pressui-e into a near approach to diorite. 
These slates are silicious rather than talcoso, and 
frequently pass into rock closely resembling diorite 
or trap, and are difficult to distinguish from the 
intrusive or eruptive rocks. They, at times, assume 
aporphyritic structure, and may be taken for eruptive 

As we pass to the west, we find the slates grad- 
ully change from metamorphic, to laminated, then to 
conglomerate slate,* a series of fragmental rocks. 
These conglomerate slates have caused much com- 
ment among explorers, other than geologists, as to 
their origin, and as they are abundant to the west 
of the great Mother Lode, but are not found to the 
east of it, we will give their origin. 

These slates are made up of quartz pebbles, 
fragments of slate, mica, and feldspar. They appear 
as stratified gravel deposits, and gold has been found 
in them. These strata were formed on the bottom 
of a Jurassic sea, and are the cemented fragments 
torn from older rocks. In the upheaval of the 
Sierras, these slates escaped the pressure that was 
brought to bear on those further to the east, and 
hence we find them to-day a series of conglomerate 
slate and sandstone. It is interesting to pass over 
these slates, eastward, and see them pass gradu- 
ally into the metamorphic slates, and trace the out- 
lines of the quartz pebble in the firm silicious slate 
along the great fissure that contains the Mother 

At some period, after the Jurassic era, the upheaval 
of the Sierra fissured the western slope, as it is 
known to have fissured the eastern, Avith numerous 
large and small openings. Along the line of the 
then base of the Sierras, volumes of steam and 
streams of silicious waters poured from the great 
fissure, which now contains the Mother Lode. The 
*May be seen in quantity near Drytown. 


T~e# £ 




heated waters deposited then* loads of silica, and, 
the ascending vapors their metalic deposit. From 
near Berranda. on the South Pacific Railroad, to 
Trinity on the north, spouting geysers and steam- 
ing solfataras, ladened the air with vapors, and 
marked the site of the gold deposits of to-day. 

East of the Mother Lode, from one to three miles, 
a ridge of feldspathic rock runs parallel with the 
lode across the county. In some places, it is a com- 
pact granite; in others, a gneissoid granite. It is 
traversed in places by dikes of trap and largo veins 
of barren quartz. At Quartz mountain, on the line 
of this granitic ridge, is an immense deposit of 
quartz, low grade ore. The auriferous slates of the 
county are arenaceous, argillaceous, and quartzose, 
sometimes changing in a few rods, from magnesian 
to aluminous, or to hard, blue metamorphic slates. 
These slates further change as we go west, and ,at 
the Newton copper mine we find them an argillaceous 

When excavations are made in the alum slates, 
a deposit of that mineral forms on the damp walls, 
and waters flowing from tunnels in the slates, are 
sometimes heavily charged with alum from decom- 
posing pyrites of iron. These slates, as has been 
determined from fossils, found further north in Plu- 
mas county, belong to the upper triassic and Jurassic 

The auriferous slates on either side of the great 
Mother Lode are of the same age as the Jura Alps, 
and hence Jurassic. They have a width of about 
thirty miles from east to west. Five miles from 
Jackson, on the Yolcano road, we find these slates 
divided by an immense ridge of granite; and three 
miles east of the town of Yolcano, the granite rocks 
commence and extend, with slight interruptions, to 
the summit of the great chain of the Sierras. All 
the country rock, between these granite ridges, 
which cross the county in a northerly direction, is 
occupied by the auriferous slates — except where 
the carboniferous limestone divides it. There 
are several strata or formations of the limestone 
which cross the county in the same general direction 
that the quartz veins do. These limestones mark 
the near shore-line of a carboniferous ocean, and are 
the work of the coral polyps that once existed on 
the golden shores of Amador. It is a well-known 
fact that the coral insect does not live and work at 
a greater depth than one hundred feet; and at the 
period when these limestones were formed, the land 
lay at the bottom of a shallow sea; or the rising 
Sierras shifted the receding shore-line continually 
to the west. Hence we find the greatest deposit 
of the limestones on the east of Volcano, where 
they have a width of three thousand feet. Between 
Yalcano and Sutter, we find two narrow strata of 
limestone; and three or four miles to the west of 
Sutter, we find the last, or most western, strata of 
the carboniferous limestones. 

These limestones do not contain a fossil of the 

coral polyps, who built them; not even with the 
microscope can they be detected. The strata has 
been so metamorphosed and changed by pressure, as 
to destroy the form, and change its beautiful coral 
formations (as found in the limestones of the same 
age in Shasta county), into crystalline marble. 
This limestone is a white, crystalline, saccharoidal 
marble of fine and coarse texture, Avith veinings of 
oxide of iron and black oxide of manganese. It is 
traversed, in many places, by heavy and light trap- 

Previous to the deposition of the gold-bearing 
gravel upon it the rock has been worn by the action 
of the elements into the most fantastic shapes. By 
the removal of the auriferous gravel coveririg, the 
limestones, domes and spires, monuments and towers, 
of dark-veined marble have been exposed to view, 
presenting an imposing appearance. It is full of pot- 
holes formed by the action of water, and deep, 
curiously eroded cavities, once filled with gold-bear- 
ing gravel. 

Caves, caverns, and long, sinuous galleries have 
been formed by the eroding waters carrying the car- 
bonate of lime in solution, depositing it at different 
parts of the deposit, in many instances decorating 
the roofs and floors of the caverns with beautiful 
stalagmite and stalactite formations. The lime- 
stone belt is crossed by quartz veins of small size. 
Layers of flint, or chert, possibly formed from the 
cast-off shells of diatoms, are found along the line 
of the marble and slaty beds of the same rock. The 
gravel deposits, which at Yolcano have been exten- 
sively worked for gold, rest on the auriferous slates 
as well as the limestones. Beneath the limestones 
the slates are not found. 

In the ridge north of the town (Volcano) the 
auriferous gravel is overlain by horizontal beds of 
white and pink tufa or volcanic materials, consisting 
of ashes and pumice cemented and stratified by 
water. Upon these horizontal strata rests a mass of 
trachyte, broken into rounded forms on the surface. 
Under this massive volcanic ridge, the entire aurifer- 
ous belt plunges, re-appearing on the opposite side, 
at Fort John. 

Between the Yolcano basin and the.Mokelumne 
river is another high ridge of volcanic materials, 
under which the auriferous belt passes in a southerly 

These volcanic ridges — which may be met with all 
along the western slopes of the main chain, extend- 
ing in parallel courses from the summits of the high 
Sierras to the low tertiary foot-hills, which in many 
instances they cap with a shallow deposit — extend 
in a continuous line to the summit of the Sierra 

These ridges push out in detached masses to the 
confines of the Sacramento valley, where, becoming 
thinner and thinner, they have finally stopped, and 
are found on the summits of the low tertiary hills 
around lone valley. 



Near the surface in some of these tufa deposits, 
may ho found beautiful specimens of what are called 
photographic rock — dendritic formations; generally 

resembling delicate tracery of trees and shrubs. 

Somo of the pictures are ideal landscapes, with 
hill, valley, and lake; the lake in the foreground, 
bordered by grass and ferns, the low hills in the back- 
ground with palmate and branching trees, delicate 
as sea mosses. They are not, as supposed, nature's 
photographs, but arc formed by waters, holding 
black oxide of manganese in solution, percolating 
through the fissures in the rock. These formations 
are abundant in the claims of McLaughlin & Co., on 
Union Flat, and Whitney & Co., on the same range 
near Yolcano. 

The Jurassic and carboniferous strata are overlain 
by the strata of the tertiary and post-pliocene, with 
boulder or glacial drift and aluvium deposits. The 
volcanic deposits cap the whole, and are consequently 
the latest formations. 


On the summits of many of the high ridges, both 
exposed and under the lava flow, are deposits of 
glacier drift, in places rich in gold. The question 
with many is, how these immense polished boulders 
have been left on the summits. 

The solution of the question is that they were carried 
there in the glacial period, after having been torn 
from the numerous quartz, and other ledges, over 
which the glacial flow passed, carrying them over 
valley and hill — as they are known to have traveled 
— from a northerly direction. The great body of 
ice, possibly two or three miles in thickness, acted as 
a mighty arastra, grinding down the quartz lodes, 
pulverizing the mass, polishing the boulders, and 
depositing the gold in the drift (to be concentrated 
afterwards by the flowing streams from the melting 
ice), wearing down the slates, and leaving the aurifer- 
ous gravel in the beds of the rivers and gulches, filling 
the great valley of the Sacramento to an unknown 
depth. The Stockton artesian well, sunk to a depth 
of eleven hundred feet, did not go through the deposit, 
nor the well at the Sacramento sugar refinery, two 
thousand two hundred feet in depth, the auger 
bringing up gold, quartz, and wood, at a depth of 
two thousand feet. We mention these deep sinkings 
in the valley to show that the debris, for countless 
ages, has been pouring into the valleys, and must 
for countless ages to come. Three miles west of the 
town of Amador we find evidences of glacial deposit. 
On the summit of one of the volcanic ridges, min- 
gled with the huge, rounded trachyte boulders, are 
fifteen granite glacier-polished boulders. The larg- 
est is thirteen feet long by seven and one-half feet 
wide; the part above ground is five feet high. It 
contains fifty tons of rock, and has the ovid or 
sheep-back form peculiar to glacial boulders. The 
others, all similar in appearance, are much smaller. 
There is no granite of the same character nearer 

than twenty miles north-east, in an air line. Wo 
followed the lino of the glacier drift over tho vol- 
canic ridges, and down the deep canons, to near 
Upper Ilanchcria, where we again came upon the 
same character of granite boulders, but distant from 
the first mentioned by ten or twelve miles. They 
are from five to thirty tons weight. They mark the 
line of the glacial flow, and their polished sides show 
the action of the moving ice. 


There are no well-defined volcanoes, with the ex- 
ceptions of Butte mountain, near Jackson, and one 
west of Tragedy Springs, near Silver lake. At the 
last-mentioned point, there are evidences of the most 
stupendous volcanic outbursts, and from this point 
the lava ridges may be traced for forty miles or 
more, toward the valley of the Sacramento. These 
lava rivers in the volcanic epoch, flowed down tho 
lowest places, or river beds. As the ages rolled on, 
the eroding waters and high mountain glaciers, wore 
the softer slates away, and left these ridges, as we 
find them to-day, the most elevated portion of the 
county. That portion of the county to the east of 
the great Mother Lode, is traversed, to a greater 
or less extent, by igneous rocks, mostly trap and 
diorite. These dikes cut through all formations, 
and are found extending to the boulder drift and 
aluvium deposits. (According to Clarence King, 
United States geologist, they were erupted in the 
cretaceous, or chalk period.) They are from a few 
inches in width to many (sometimes five hun- 
dred) feet wide. We have traced many of them for 
a distance of two miles, through several formations. 
They are, in many instances, intimately connected 
with the formation of quartz lodes; and where they 
cut a ledge or intersect it, deposits of rich ore are 
often found. In the Pioneer district, five miles east 
of Yolcano, the small quartz lodes in the granite, 
owe their origin to these trap-dikes; they are what 
is known as segregated lodes, that is, drawn from 
the granite by the heat of the ascending dike. 

Trap-dikes cross the basin on which the town of 
Yolcano is located, in almost all directions. The 
richest placer deposits have been found in close 
proximity to these erupted dikes, on one or the 
other side. They appear to have acted as gigantic 
riffles during the glacial period, and held the gold 
as it was ground out of the abundant quartz lodes, 
much as is common in a sluice at the present time. 
A large dike of doleritic trap rock, with large crys- 
tals of augite, malacolite, and sahlite, of a dingy 
green color, passes just above the falls on Indian 
gulch, near Yolcano, and through which a tunnel 
has been driven. This heavy dike of igneous rock 
changed the inclosing limestones to a coarse crys- 
talline carbonate of lime, some of the crystals an 
inch square. Some very good marble has been 
formed in the same way, at various places on the 
limestone belt. This great dike, in a few hundred 



feet, frays out into numerous small dikes; some of 
them cutting small quartz veins, in the here silicious 
limestones, which show gold where the trap passes 
through the quartz. 

Butte mountain gives indubitable evidence of hav- 
ing been erupted on the spot, the molten matter 
coming up through an opening in the slates. We 
find the conical mountain composed of volcanic rocks 
and ashes, resting on the auriferous slates. This 
mountain is a conspicuous figure in the landscape, 
and the view from its summit, extensive and grand. 


What is known as the copper belt, and on which 
the Newton copper mine is located, passes across 
the county five or six miles to the west of the great 
Mother Lode. The slates in this section are the 
magnesian and argillaceous. Large ledges and 
strata of serpentine rocks cross and cut these slates 
in all directions. The ore obtained at the Newton 
mine is the sulphuret, known as chalcopyrite, the 
yellow oxide of copper. There is some iron pyrites 
mixed with the ore to a greater or less extent, 
which lowers the percentage of the ore correspond- 
ingly; red oxide is also obtained in smaller quanti- 

The process of working is simple. The ore is 
roasted, then leached, and the copper precipitated 
with iron, or rather, collected on iron scraps. 

Along this copper belt are numerous croppings 
and evidences of the existence of other deposits of 
copper, and the future prospector may yet uncover 
mines equal to the one described above. 


Iron is abundant; and the day is not distant when 
the inexhaustible iron deposits of Amador will be 
profitably worked. 

Wood is abundant for the manufacture of char- 
coal; limestone of the best quality for smelting 
purposes without limit; andiron ore of a good grade 
beyond computation. It is on every hand; in the 
limonite that binds the gravel beds in solid conglom- 
erate to lodes or deposits of great extent ; in 
masses of dark steel-gray hematite, and lodes of 
magnetic iron ore; in specular iron; in masses of 
iron and black oxide of manganese; in ocherous 
earth and jaspery croppings; in stalactites and small 
beautiful specimens of titanic ore; last but not least, 
in the blood-red soil of the environing hills. 


Small deposits of sulphate of lime have been found 
at various points in the county, but not in paying 
quantities. The future explorer may develop quan- 
tities of the mineral. 


Small veins of the above mineral exist all over the 
county, changing from the fibrous to immense ledges 
of steatite of a coarse variety. 


Marble of a good qualit) 7 , and of different shades 
from blue-veined to crystalline white, is found along 
the limestone belt. Small quantities of onyx are also 
found in the same vicinity. 


Small veins of the above mineral are also met 


A good quality of potter's clay is found in hori- 
zontal deposits near Carbondale, and around lone 
Valley. A good deposit of the same mineral exists 
at Aqueduct City. 

Accompanying the quartz veins, in many instances 
forming selvedge or " gouge," as it is called by the 
miners, is a fair quality of kaolin; formed from decom- 
posed feldspar. 


In Soldiers' gulch, back of the town of Volcano, 
is a quartz vein passing through the gravelly deposit, 
formed, by the action of water holding silica in 
solution, since the deposition of the gravel. It is a 
ferruginous, jaspery vein of geodic chalcedony and 
agate. Some of the cavities are most beautifully 
lined with silicious crystalline deposits of these 

About one hundred feet to the north of the above- 
described curious jaspery formation, is a dike or 
trap, which, when erupted, baked the clay on either 
hand for a distance of fifty feet into porcelanite, a 
species of jasper. Near this dike we found several 
casts of bones of the megatherium (?) — a gigantic 
animal that existed in the tertiary period. The casts 
are of porcelanite, and very large. 

In some of the clay slates, all over the county, we 
found tracks and borings of worms and rain-drop 
impressions, and in the hard blue slates along the 
Mother Lode, we frequently find the wave marks 
left by the receding Jurassic sea. In a mining claim 
(at Volcano) near the junction of the slates and lime- 
stones, we found some fine specimens of ferruginous 
lignite, or in other words, fossil woods changed to 
iron ore, the fibre of the wood clear and distinct. 
Here we also found a similar sample of palm wood, 
the bark still remaining on the Avood. The other 
woods found presented a fibre similar to alder and 
maple. We also found fossil plants, two in number, 
all of which probably belonged to the triassic slates. 
In the high volcanic ridge, known as Shake ridge, 
about three miles north-east of Volcano, is the tunnel 
of W. Q. Mason, which has been driven under the 
volcanic matter or lava, through the channel rim of 
slates, cutting an ancient river bed, or lacustrine de- 
posit. The thinly laminated clayey deposit, has been 
formed in still water, as may be determined from the 
position of the fossil vegetation. Chai'red wood and 
ferruginous lignite, or wood changed to iron ore, is 
abundant. Mr. Mason has a pine cone — a beautiful 



specimen, changed into Bulphuret of iron, Here we 
found between the thin, claj ey layers, i be loavesofthe 
following trees: Alder, willow, oak, maple, fig, and a 
very large leaf we could not determine. These 
leaves, and what appeared to be the fronds of a 
species of fern, are abundant, forming a deposit in 
some places two or three feet t hick. They are very 
fragile, and all attempts to preserve them, even for 
a' few days, were futile. 

The fossil plants belong to the tertiary period, and 
the volanic flow, that ended their existence, car- 
bonized and preserved their varied forms intact. 
Similar leaves and fossil woods are found, in and 
around Jackson and lone valleys, beneath the hori- 
zontal clay strata that form the hills. 

Fossil remains of the elephant and mastodon have 
been found at various places in the county by miners 
and others. 

In Jackson valley they have been upturned. by 
the plow. At Grass Valley a tusk of a mastodon, 
nine feet long, was washed from the auriferous 
gravel deposits. 

At one period of time in the geological history of 
Amador, the rhinoceros (an animal allied to the 
hippopotamus), an extinct species of horse, and an 
animal allied to the camel, wandered through the 
palm groves and tropical woods of Arcadian Ama- 
dor; none of these survived the grand catastrophe 
that swept them from the earth and buried their 
bones with the destroyed groves through which 
they wandered under the great lava-covered ridges, 
in the ancient river beds of to-day. 

The feathery palm lifted its proud head to a trop- 
ical sun; the wild fig dropped its fruit along the 
streams, and the maple flourished on the gently 
rolling hills; gigantic ferns grew in rank luxuriance 
around the margin of the placid lake; birds of gay 
plumage winged their flight through flowering 
groves, and the air was rank with heated vapors. 

But a change came over the spirit of the dream; a 
geological epoch had been accomplished, and the 
rising Sierras, with their teeming volcanoes, lit up 
the eastern heavens with a lurid glare, sending 
down streams of lava and volcanic material, burying 
the remains of those animals beneath the fiery flood. 
Later the elephant and the mastodon wandered over 
the hills and valleys of our county, only to be swept 
away by the seas of ice, or ground to atoms beneath 
its accumulated weight, leaving their remains as 
evidence of their existence. 


Sugar Pine (Pinus Lambertina ) — The first and 
grandest tree of the Sierras, which should have been 
named pinus saccharina, an appropriate and suggest- 
ive name. It deposits a sugary mass, similar to the 
manna of the druggist, but a mild cathartic, although 
pleasant to the taste. 

This majestic tree, with its long horizontal branches 
and pendant cones of twelve to twenty inches in 

length, towering high above its fellows, forms a most 
attractive figure in the landscape. The white pine 
lumber from this tree is the best met with in the 

Pitch Pine (Pinus ponderosa) — Comes next in value, 
and immense quantities are sawed into lumber and 
shipped to the valleys, or floated down the ditches to 
the mines at Sutter, Amador, and other places. 

Arbor Vita? (Thugia gigantea) — Or the noble fir, is 
found in the deep canons a few miles east of Volcano. 

Eed Fir (Abies Douglasli) — Is also found on the 
volcanic ridges, and down the canons. 

Balsam Fir ( Picca grandis) — Is also met with, and 
used for economical purposes. 

The White Cedar ( Labrocedus ducurens) — Is a beau- 
tiful tree, and many attempts have been made to 
transplant it to the valley homes, for ornamental pur- 
poses, but with only partial success. 

Nut or Rock Pine (Pinus sabiana) — Is found grow- 
ing on the rock lands of the western part of the 
county, and along the carboniferous limestones, bear- 
ing a large cone full of edible nuts. The wood is poor, 
even for fire- wood. 

Nutmeg Tree (Torreya Calif ornica) — Which grows 
into a stately tree in the Coast Eange, here only 
reaches a small shrub. The nuts are not like the 
nutmeg of commerce, except in outside appearance. 
The meat is edible, but the squirrels usually get it. 

Western Yew (Taxus breoifolia) — Found in the 
eastern part of the county, as also the mountain 

Bay Tree, or Mountain Jjnuvel (Oreodnphne Califor- 
nia) — A beautiful, spicy tree, which grows to an 
immense size in the Coast Eange, but here, only to a 
respectable shrub. 

White Oak (Quercus Lobata) — Differs from that 
found east of the Rocky Mountains. 

Quercus Agrifolia — Quite plenty on the ridges, and 
around lone valley. 

Canon Live-Oak (Q. Crysolepsis) — A valuable 
wood for ship timbers. 

California Chestnut (Castanopsis Chrysophylla) — A 
shrubby tree; grows on the rocky lands. 

Hazelnut (Corylus Rostrata) — In the canons and 
north hill-sides; bears nuts in small quantities. 

Alder (Alnus Viridis) — Found growing along the 
streams. In the Coast Eange is used for powder- 

Common Willow (Salix Biglowii) — Found in large 
trees along the creeks and streams. 

Cottonwood Poplar (Populus monilifera) — Large 
trees; in some instances along the creeks. 

Bayberry or Wax Myrtle (Myrica California) — 
On moist hill-sides and streams. 

Leather Wood (Dirca palustris) — A bush six to ten 
feet high; grows on dry ridges; very tough. 

Alder Buckthorn (Rhammus California) — From 
five to ten feet high ; called Wild Coffee from the fact 
the berry contains seeds that resemble coffee, and 


^Xca a*2#2 




have been so used, but it is distinct from the true 
coffee plant. 

Mountain Lilac (Ceanothus thyrsiflorus ) — Two va- 
rieties, blue and white; a fragrant, handsome tree or 

Ceanothus papillosus — Resembles the last; found in 
the mountains; the body of the tree is full of nobs 
made by the attacks of insects; used for canes on 
account of this peculiarity. 


Wild Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia). 

Mountain Holly ( Heteromeles arbutifolia) — Grows as 
high as twenty feet, with beautiful red berries, 
which ripen in January or February; much sought 
by birds. 

Service Berry ( Amelanchier alnifolia) — Grows high 
in the mountains. 

Chaparral- Chemisal (Adenosioma fascicidatum) — 
Grows from five to twenty feet high; covers the 
rocky hills to the exclusion of all other trees. 


Buckeye Horse-chestnut (xEsculus C alifornica)—A 
beautiful tree in the Spring when in bloom; nut used 
by the Indians for food, who soak the poison out 
with water. 

Big Leafed Maple ( Acer macrophyttum) — Grows into 
a small tree. 

Poison Oak ( Rhustaxico dendron) and {Rhus dioer- 
silolba) — Either variety of which will make the visitor 
wish he or she had not met with it. This obnoxious 
shrub grows all over the State. 


The Madrona or Strawberry Tree of the Spaniards 
(Arbutus Menziessii) — A beautiful tree with orange 
colored branches and deep green varnished leaves; 
bears a red berry of which the wild pigeons are fond. 

Manzanita ( Arctostaphylos tomentosa) and (A. 
Glanca) — Two varieties; bears berries, which the 
Indians gather in large quantities, of which they 
make a kind of cider. 

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus Nuttallii) — A beauti- 
ful tree when in bloom. 

C. Ccdifornica — Grows mostly along the streams: 
another species of Dogwood. 
. Elder ( Sambucus glauca ) — Bears edible berries. 

C cdifornicum Rhododendron — Is found in some 
parts of the county. 

Of plants, we have, lilies, saxifrages, orchides, 
equisetce, sedges, etc., ferns in variety, wood mosses, 
and lichens; there are lupines, orthocarpus; the 
popp} 7 famil} r is represented by three or four beauti- 
ful species, and the lilies by as many. 

There are two or three species of violets. 

This list might be extended much farther. 



Plutonic Theory — Ocean Floors — Other Theories Considered — 
Function of Wall Rock and Gouge — Surface Veins — 
Probable Depth of Veins— Methods of Deposit — Jurassic 
Gravel — Course of the Blue Lead. 

It may seem presumptuous to offer any ideas on 
the formation of the various metaliferous veins that 
ramify through our mountains; but between those 
who think God called all things into existence just as 
they are, and those who can readily explain every- 
thing^) there is quite room enough for many persons, 
however different their opinions, to stand without 
jostling each other. Notwithstanding all the dis- 
coveries in science, and they are many and of great 
importance, we are but on the boundaries of the 
infinite field, for natural science, in any of its thou- 
sands branches, is an illimitable expanse which 
would require an eternity to explore. 

An elaborate treatise on the formation of mineral 
veins would be out of place in a volume of this kind, 
even if the writer were capable of such a work; 
hence only matters pertaining to the industries of 
the county will find place here. Thirty years' 
experience in gold and other mining, much of which, 
for want of knowledge, has been unprofitable, has 
left many valuable hints, which, like trees blazed 
by the pioneer through the pathless woods, serve to 
guide those who come after. An abandoned shaft 
or mine should tell its tale of warning, and when 
properly interrogated will probably do so. 


It was formerly held that all mineral veins were 
the result of internal heat, which out of an immense 
amount of material always hot, molten, sent some 
small fragments to the upper earth. Nearly all the 
rocks were supposed to have the same origin; but 
the inexplicable difficulties which this theory led to, 
soon caused its abandonment. The metalic veins 
were too finely ramified, reticulated through the 
rock, to admit of that method of deposit. If the 
metaliferous lodes had been raised to the necessary 
degree of heat for fusion, the wall rocks or casings 
would have been destroyed or vitrified; whereas, 
the slate or other rocks in the vicinity of a vein are 
frequently unchanged. The ribbon quartz, consisting 
of parallel layers sometimes not thicker than paper, 
and extending for hundreds of feet in length and 
depth, would be impossible by the Plutonic theory. 
Then again, known eruptive rocks are entirely differ- 
ent from the rocks in which minerals are found. 
Lava beds contain no gold or silver. 


It is now a favorite theoiy with many that metal- 
iferous veins are deposited in floors of the ocean pre- 
vious to their upheaval into mountain ranges, and 
that the metals are precipitated by chemical action; 
in proof of which we are cited to the precipitation 



of iron by vegetable matter on a sea-shore. The 

sea of Sargasso, which is an immense field of sea- 
weeds in mid-ocean, near the tropics, must bo, 
aooordingto this theory, a vast mineral bed, perhaps 
of gold and silver. We hope no one, in consequence of 
this suggestion, will get up an expedition to stake off 
and work this mineral bed, although it might prove 
fully as profitable as a Cocos island investment. It 
is certain that nature is a unit in all her works, and 
that all things work together for final results. We 
have seen in the deposits at the foot-hills, which 
probably have an extension into the plains, or 
former bed of the bay, the deposits of silicious 
matter in the shape of infusoria, which forms beds 
several feet in thickness. Mid-ocean, which receives, 
though slowly, the same material, held in suspension 
by the water, is consequently reproducing a similar 
formation in the bottom of the ocean. Let us suppose 
that the Saeramento valley be buried twenty thou- 
sand feet deep, — in slickens, if you please, — and that 
after remaining long enough at that depth for the 
layers of sand, clay, and gravel, to become indurated 
or solidified, it begins to slowly emerge as a mount- 
ain range. Let us now consider the minerals likely 
to be found in the rocks. The best statistics of the 
composition will be a list of the materials which 
have been dumped into the bay by the rivers. 
According to the best authorities, twenty thousand feet, 
at least, of rocks have been ground or torn away. 
Much of this was gold-bearing; indeed, there is 
much evidence in favor of the opinion that the rich- 
est portions of the quartz veins were on the surface. 
No twenty-five pound lumps have been found in the 
veins. The gold found in the gulches may have 
been the coarser particles, rounded by attrition of 
all this tremendous denudation. How much of the 
gold was originally coarse ? How much of that 
now found in the quartz veins, if ground in a canon 
of rocks like those found in any mountain river, 
would leave coarse rounded gold ? Free gold is usu- 
ally found in threads and spangles. The Hayward 
vein, the Keystone, the Plymouth, did not enrich the 
gulches to any extent. The series of rich surface 
veins, near Mace's ranch, hardly make a ravine worth 
working, so fine is the gold. The fine gold of the 
veins, as well as the particles worn off the sprangly 
threads, leaving the rounded dust or nuggets, has 
gone into the valley, and is deposited in an impalpa- 
ble state in the sand, clay, and gravel, or, perhaps, 
more finely divided, has gone to sea, to be deposited 
in the mid-ocean beds of earthy deposits. We may 
trace it farther than this; some of it may be held in 
solution. The Platner pi'ocess of dissolving gold in 
hydrochloric acid, has shown how it is possible for 
the sea-water to hold it in solution, and has, perhaps, 
given us a hint of its possible recovery thei'efrom. 
How about the proportion left in the gulches? 
When one looks at the operations of a glacier, which 
reduces everything in its grasp to the finest clay; 
and to such canons as the American, Mokelumne, or 

Cosumnes rivers, which take in tons in weight of 
hard, flinty rocks, reduce them to powder, and send 
them out on the plains as slickens, and asks what has 
become of the soft gold, it must be answered: It is 
not destroyed, but not one per cent, of it is left to be 
mined out in the rivers; not a quarter of one per 
cent. even. For every million that goes to the mint, 
more than five hundred has been lost as far as the 
present race is concerned. It may be worked out 
when our Sierras and the deep sea shall exchange 
places, but not before. 

To continue the illustration of the formation of 
quartz veins: the layer of rock over and, perhaps, 
under the ranges of sand or gravel containing the 
gold, shall be firm, consistent, holding water, and 
forming a subterranean channel, such as the water 
in our artesian wells flows through, these tight floors 
and roofs becoming the wall rocks of our future 
vein. When these strata are upheaved so far as to 
have one portion of the "TJ " several hundred feet, 
or perhaps a thousand feet, higher than the other, 
the lower portion reaches down to depths where the 
heat maybe much above the boiling point, this being 
reached at the depth of twelve thousand seven hun- 
dred and twenty feet, or an increase of one degree 
for each sixty feet of descent. The iron, sulphur, 
potash, soda, and other minerals, usually found with 
all ores, were not mentioned in connection with the 
gold, supposed to be in the soil of the Sacramento 
valley, for the reason that they are so common as 
to be perceptible in every soil. When this arrange- 
ment has been completed, the process of depositing 
mineral veins may be considered to have commenced. 
It is not essential that more than one end of the 
" U," or succession of them, shall be exposed. We 
only stipulate for such an arrangement as will allow 
the rain-water which falls on the top of the mount- 
ain to sink into the earth and carry along whatever 
mineral it may be able to hold in solution, parting 
now with a particle of potash or sulphur, taking up 
a particle of magnesia, silex, or other minerals, 
until it reaches the alembic, crucible, or laboratory, 
where heat comes in as a stimulant to its holding or 
solvent powers. It is impossible to overestimate the 
capacity of a circulation of this sort. When the 
water reaches the opposite end of the " U," and again 
encounters the cooler temperature of the surface, it 
must gradually part with the greater portion of the 
mineral which it picked up in its long journey, 
though not quite all, for every spring contains more 
or less mineral matter, especially if it emerges in 
such quantity as to exceed the capacity of the 
ground for cooling it, as is the case with thermal 
or hot springs. What would be the consequence of 
a break or crack in the roof or floor of this channel ? 
Would it not result in the formation of a side or 
branch vein ? An irregularity of upheaval which 
shall separate the roof of the subterranean channel 
into numerous parts, would result in setting up new 
lines of deposit, and a consequent weakening of the 



main lode. Now, it is a fact, so common in quartz 
mining as to amount to a certainty, that, without a 
good hanging-wall not far away, a vein is almost 
sure to fail. If it were true that the minerals are 
deposited in veins on ocean floors, this condition 
would not be so imperious. 

A cross fracture in the roof-wall would produce a 
cross-vein like the Gate vein, the one east of the Zeile 
mine, and others that might be named. How can 
such veins be accounted for on the supposition that 
the precipitation is while the locality is yet a floor? 
Why should quartz be the .vehicle for gathering 
and retaining gold as well as most other metals ? 
The solution of gold by the Platner process, before 
referred to, may give us a hint as to the chemical 
agency of common salt and sulphur in gathering up 
the gold scattered in impalpable particles through 
the soil and concentrating it in veins; the precip- 
itation by the sulphuret of iron, tells its own story 
also, as this form of iron is constantly associated 
with gold. The free gold and large lumps still 
remain to be accounted for. Some miners of intel- 
ligence believe that gold grows — by accretion — both 
in quartz and gravel. Possibly it does. Who can 
tell when, if ever, the particles of matter, even in the 
hardest rocks, ceased to adjust themselves to each 
other ? J. T. Burke, the oldest and most experienced 
quartz miner in the county, thinks that the quartz 
veins are still receiving gold. It is said that the 
silver mines of Mexico, which were worked three 
hundred years since, have again become rich from 
the flowing through them of water containing silver 
in solution. The copper mines in the lower part of 
the county are known to be in an active condition, 
gaining or losing ores all the time. 

The mineral belts of Amador county .are various 
and extensive, but there are many reasons for believ- 
ing they once were one floor. Beginning with the 
lower veins nearly on a level with the ocean, as the 
last formed, we have the Arroyo Seco lead near 
Muletown on the west, and the Newton lead on the 
east; thence across the axis of elevation (the ser- 
pentine range near the Mountain Spring House), we 
have another extension of the same, but a few miles 
in width, and by no means continuous from north 
to south. Some rich quartz is found in this range, 
and considerable copper, the latter in chimneys of 
small extent. Next is the Mother Lode, which has 
been fully described, the upper end or east side of 
the "U" being near Volcano. East of Volcano is the 
last one to be considered, for the reason that by 
denudation the upper and older lines of elevation are 
nearly erased. Why the lower belt near the foot- 
hills should have copper instead of gold; why the 
middle belt should have the custody of the richest 
quartz veins; why the upper or Volcano range 
should have its veins transverse or at angles, vary- 
ing with the cleavage of the slate, is among the 
many, very many, mysteries. 

So far, we have only taken into account the Assure 

or true veins, which may be considered as those that 
reach the bottom, or continue through the inverted 
syphon. The true fissure vein may be in the shape 
of a chimnej 7 , wide, with a short run north and 
south, or it may be continuous for hundreds of feet, 
with about the same thickness; but in either case 
it may be poor or rich, the essential condition of its 
wealth being, that it must be located in a gold-bear- 
ing soil or lode. A vein of quartz by itself may not 
be rich in gold any more- than a ravine. There are 
quartz mountains in New Hampshire, as well as in 
California; but no gold in them that is known. 


These have an entirely different origin, and in 
general pinch out at no great distance from the 
surface. They are probably produced by the pre- 
cipitation of gold and quartz, held in solution by 
surface streams. Some surface veins are quite rich; 
little fortunes are often made out of them. This is 
the character of many of the veins in the vicinity 
of West Point. A surface vein is characterized by 
a nearly total want of gouge. What this has to do 
with a quartz vein, may not be apparent to the gen- 
eral reader. In all fissures of any extent is found 
a clay, sometimes several inches in thickness, which 
is said to be produced by the slow grinding or rub- 
bing of the walls against each other. The rocks 
and clay are striated, the lines showing the direc- 
tions of these oscillations, which are not necessarily 
perceivable, in a generation even. There is apt to 
be a heavier deposit of ore along the gouge, which, 
as a usual thing, also is a water-course. If the fis- 
sure is but temporary, extending down a few hun- 
dred feet at most, below which the rock is solid, 
there can be no grinding or rubbing of the walls 
together, and, consequently, no gouge. These sur- 
face veins are in constant formation, though some 
of them probably are contemporaneous with the true 
fissure veins. A small quartz vein will sometimes 
form in a. lava bed; also in the coal veins, or beds 
of lignite, in the foot-hills. They are found in the 
tertiary or sandstone hills of the Coast Range, some 
of the veins having considerable gold in them. These 
hills, by the way, though in some places thousands 
of feet high, bear marks of a birth long subsequent 
to the Sierras, and are, probably, in great part com- 
posed of the debris from the summits of the Sierras, 
when they had not yet bared their heads of granite. 
The cement of old buildings sometimes contains thin 
veins of crystallized quartz. The gold-bearing veins 
of steatite near lone, probably were enriched the 
same way; that is, by sui'face action. Let our 
future chemists take a hint from this in the reduc- 
tion of gold quartz. 


It is well settled that quartz and other mineral veins 

i have no particular connection with the center of the 

earth, but are surface affairs, extending no deeper 

than the deposits of rocky matter that in the great 

1 II 


cycle of events is now filling up an ocean, and dow 
being lifted I" be denuded and senl again to the bot- 
tom of the deep sea. tf the slope in the Keystone, 
Gover, and SeatOn mines were maintained for a few 
thousand feel it would be apt to meet theboltoni of the 
• -V," or inverted syphon. Thewallrocb of t lie Consol- 
idated Amador failed atone thousand seven hundred 
and fifty feet ; oilier mines may extend to greater 
depths, but if they could or should be worked down 
to greater depths, probably the wall rock would be 
found gradually getting flatter. Indeed, the univer- 
sal testimony is that after the permanent vein is 
reached a change in the direction of the vein is 
always towards a horizontal. The opinion sometimes 
entertained, that the quartz veins extend to intermin- 
able depths is probably erroneous, though the limit 
may never be reached by any known methods of 
working deep mines. 


An uneducated person, when first shown a piece of 
crystalized quartz, is apt to form the opinion that it 
had been melted and run into that shape, but a little 
observation will convince him that the regular forms 
must be the result of a general law resulting from the 
adjustment of the particles to each other. In some 
specimens of crystals we may see the lines of deposit 
which are always parallel to the terminal faces. 
In examining veins of quartz of different localities, 
we find some in fine layers (like ribbons when viewed 
edgewise), not thicker than paper. The slightest 
amount of iron, lime, or other mineral, in solution 
with the silicious matter, will suffice to mark the 
lines of deposit. In other veins, which appear to be 
solid, we may get a hint of the method of deposit 
by the lines of decomposition or decay, which show 
an arrangement of particles like melting ice, which 
does not melt in parallel lines, but in cavities. So a 
quartz vein will show a deposit of irregular crystals 
adhering to the sides of a cavity and gradually 
approaching each other until they unite and become 
solid. This seems to be a common form of deposit 
in the recent or surface veins. In other cases the 
quartz is in nodules or amorphous bunches. This is 
the case in the Keystone where the bunches are 
sometimes so large as to contain forty thousand tons 
of rich milling ore. The Hayward had a boulder 
vein also, though it would scarcely pay for milling. 
A more thorough investigation may show a uniform 
and decided difference in the lines of deposit of sur- 
face and true fissure veins, by which their character 
may be determined. 


Geologists have determined the gold-bearing quartz 
and adjoining rocks to belong to the Jurassic age. 
This classification is said to rest on the discovery of 
fossil reptiles, and is probably correct. The point to 
note in the matter, which seems to have escaped the 
attention of the professors, is the existence of large 
bodies of gravel in different portions of the county, in 

Strata parallel to the quartz veins, and probably 
extending down as far or farther than the quartz 
veins. These veins of gravel are full of quartz peb- 
bles, as well rounded as any that can be found in 
creek or river, and are no spheroidal concretions 
formed when the slates were a plastic mass, but are 
evidently the product of a rapid stream passing over 
auriferous quartz. Where is the stream that rounded 
these pebbles? Where is the system of quartz veins 
winch must antedate the Mother Lode from which 
these pebbles were torn? Where is the mountain 
that gave impetus to these streams that rounded 
them? The beds appear in such quantities and in 
such places and conditions as to forbid the idea of 
their having fallen into a fissure in the earth. They 
have the regular stratification and cleavage of the 
slate; the layers being separated frequently by thin, 
delicate lines of slate such as maybe seen in any allu- 
via! deposit. The gravel may be seen in nearly all 
the canons west of the Mother Lode, but the most 
decided outcrop is about one thousand feet east of 
Drytown, where there are two distinct deposits each 
a hundred feet thick, separated by a strata of the 
black clay slate, common to the country. This reef 
extends the whole length of Murderer's gulch on the 
north, and to the Rancheria hill on the south, a distance 
of two miles, and from the gold found in the ravine 
near by, is evidently gold-bearing. What becomes 
of the Mother Lode theory now ? Here is gravel 
that is as old in its place as the Mother Lode, that 
presupposes an older lode still, not only that, but a 
subsequent upheaval. There is but one conclusion in 
the matter possible; there must have been an older 
Mother Lode, or grandmother, if such a term is per- 
missible, which existed and was in a mountain or 
range of mountains ere the upturning of the slates in 
whose comp'any the gravels rest. As there are some 
two or three thousand feet of clay slate between this 
gravel and the Mother Lode, older than the quartz, 
occupying the inferior position, millions of years 
were necessary for the slow deposit of the clays 
afterwards indurated into slate. Reference to evi- 
dence of a former mineral region, denuded to the 
granite rock in a former age has once before been 

In the northern part of the State where the integ- 
rity of the mountain tops has been better maintained, 
there are large rivers which seem to run towards the 
south and become lost. The Blue Lead, the largest 
of these, is said to have been traced to El Dorado 
county. As this river was far to the east, occupying 
a much greater altitude, these gravel beds may be 
the lacustrine termination of the Blue Lead which by 
a subsequent upheaval, is now tightly inclosed in its 
coffin of slate. The question, " What has become of the 
Blue Lead? " may possibly be answered here. The 
discovery may have no economic value but it will be 
an interesting leaf to read in the geology of California. 
This lead of gravel, tracing it by the appearance in 
places, seems to have taken a south-western direction 





across the county. It may be seen in Sutter creek 
about four miles below the town, and again in the 
southern part of the county near the Mokelumne 
river. Although the veins have never been worked, 
a thorough prospecting might prove them to have 
some economic value. 



Quartz Mining, Commencement of — Quartz Miners' Convention — 
Account of the Mother Lode — Sketch of Different Mines— 
Gwin Mines — Casco — Murphy's Ridge — Huffaker — Moore — 
Zeile— Description of a Model Mill — Platner Process of 
Reducing Sulplmrets — Hinkley Mine — Monterichard — 
Kennedy — Tubbs — Oneida — Summit — Hay ward— Character 
of the Same— Railroad — Wildman — Mahoney — Union or 
Lincoln — Accident in the Lincoln — Mechanics — Herbertville 
— Spring Hill — Keystone — Consolidation of Granite State 
and Walnut Hill — Discovery of the Bonanza — Statistics of 
Same — Big Grab, and Failure to Hold it — Account of the 
Suit — Original Amador — Bunker Hill — Pennsylvania Gover 
— Black Hills — Seaton — Potosi— Quartz Mountain — -Ply- 
mouth Group — Enterprise — Nashville. 

The intelligent men who worked the gulches and 
rivers in an early day, soon sought the sources of 
the gold. Sometimes gold was found with quartz 
adhering to it, or occasionally a quartz pebble 
riveted through and through with gold. The veins 
of quartz seaming the hills in the vicinity of the 
richest placers, also served to point to that rock as 
the original source of the gold. At Carson Hill, in 
Mariposa county, quartz had been found immensely 
rich; but the expense of blasting the rock out and 
crushing it was such, that no serious attempts were 
made, in Amador county, until 1851. The whole 
country abounded with quartz; in some places there 
were mountains of it, which had filled the ravines 
with broken quartz, where no gold was to be found; 
so that the search for auriferous quartz was a tedious 
affair until men were put upon the scent. 

The first discovery of gold in quartz seems to have 
been made by a man by the name of Davidson, a 
Baptist preacher, in February, 1851, on the south side 
of Amador creek near the spring then used by the 
miners. Boulders of considerable size were lying 
on the top of the ground, supposed to have been 
detached from the vein. Gold was found in some of 
these, and subsequently, in the vein from which these 
came. Associated with Davidson were Glover, 
Herbert, and P. Y. Cool, all ministers; hence the 
claim was known as the "ministers' claim." Samuel 
Hill, afterward a l'esident of Buckeye, was taken in 
as a capitalist, and the company organized as the 
Spring Hill Companj 7 . About the same time, 
Thomas Rickey, and his son James, afterward resi- 
dents of lone, located the vein on the north side of 
the creek, since known as the Original Amador. Gold 
could also be seen in this rock. None of these men 
had ever seen any quartz mining; in fact, there was 
none in the world to compare with what may be 
seen now at any mining town. Hill, of the Spring 
Hill Company, went to Sacramento and bought a 

steam engine, aged and ancient in style, which proved 
a mine of trouble to them, as it took an enormous 
quantity of wood to make steam. The main shaft 
was wood with bearings of round bar iron, two 
inches in diameter, which were driven in with a 
hammer, the end of the log being banded with iron. 
The cams were large spikes of bar iron driven into 
the shaft and afterward bent. The stamps had 
wooden stems, and spikes driven into the stems for 
tappits or projections, against which the cams should 
play to raise the stamps. The gold was saved, or 
rather lost, by means of a rocker about eight feet 
long, worked by the same power as the stamps. 
The machinery proving a failure, was soon rebuilt 
with improvements suggested by experience. 

The mill on the north side was started about the 
same time, September 5, 1851, with somewhat 
better machinery. The shaft was of wood, but had 
axe-bar iron four inches wide and half an inch thick 
for cams, the bai*s being bent after they were put in 
the shaft. The stamps also had wooden stems with 
slots in the middle to receive the cams. Dan Fiddler 
was the master mechanic, and J. T. Bei'ke the 
superintendent of this mine. It made dividends as 
well as wages for its owners, who were all workers. 
Quicksilver was tried, but from some cause failed to 
give satisfactory results. It was also discovered 
that much of the gold was lost, being too fine to 
settle into the ordinary riffles. While experiments 
were being made to remedy the matter, a German 
who had had experience in mining in Peru, pro- 
posed to amalgamate with arastras. With his 
assistance the company took out about seventy-five 
ounces a week, the German receiving one-thirteenth 
part for his share. This was the first successful 
quartz mining in the county. 


The discovery of gold-bearing quartz aroused the 
whole country. All were looking forward to the 
time when the gulches and surface claims should be 
exhausted, and there were numbers of men who 
thought this was the case as early as 1851. Quartz 
was now tried everywhere; like any other mining 
craze it went beyond all reasonable bounds. Possi- 
bilities became certainties. A mill had been put up 
at Quartzburg on the Cosumnes river which was 
thought to be making fabulous fortunes for its own- 
ers, which, however, was far from true. It may as 
well be told here that the superintendent, Dr. Har- 
ris, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, brought out 
seventeen thousand dollars to work the mine, drew 
on the company for twenty-eight thousand dollars 
more, and then abandoned the mine to the hired 
hands to make their back wages out of it if they 
could. The lead or Mother Lode, as this system 
of veins, chutes, or chimneys, has been called, 
was soon traced to the Cosumnes on the north, 
and the Mokelumne on the south. All kinds 
of claims were set up and a harvest of lawsuits 



Beemed impending, when it was resolved to bold a 
quartz oonvention and make regulations to ensure 
i In- peaoe and security of quartz mining, which, after 
a proper notice, was held ai Rancheria, that being 
probably the largest place in the county. 

The following is copied from the book of records 
now in the bands of ML 1!. Church of Drytown. 


"At a meeting of the miners of Dry Creek, Ran- 
cheria Creek, Amador Creek. Sutter Creek, holden 
near the town of Rancheria, June 7, 1851, in accord- 
ance with previous public notice, for the purpose of 
making rules and regulations for quartz miners, in 
the mining districts hereinafter described. 

" T. J. Law-ton was chosen President; Samuel Her- 
bert, Vice-President; Wm. Salter, Jr., Secretary. 

"On motion of O.L. Palmer, a committee of three 
was appointed consisting of O. L. Palmer, Wm. Pen- 
ton, of Rancheria, and Hiram B. Piatt, of Drytown, to 
prepare resolutions for the consideration of the meet- 
ing. The committee offered the following report, 
which was accepted. 

"Resolved, That rules and regulations for the 
security, peace and harmony of the miners, who are 
now or who may be hereafter engaged in prospect- 
ing and working quartz mines, are positively neces- 

"2. — That in compliance with that necessity, we do 
hereby ordain and establish the following rules and 
regulations for the government of the district within 
the following bonds, to wit: All that portion of the 
county of Calaveras that lies south of the dividing- 
ridge between Cosumues river and Dry creek and 
north of the Mokelumne river. 

" 3. — That the size of a claim in quartz veins shall 
be two hundred and forty (240) feet in length of the 
vein without regard to the width, to the discoverer or 
company, and one hundred and twenty (120) feet in 
addition thereto for each member of the company 
that shall now or may be hereafter organized. 

"4. — That no claims, hereafter made, shall be con- 
sidered good and valid, unless the same shall have 
been staked off, in conformity with the provisions 
of Besolution 3, and written notice of the size of the 
claim, and the number of the men in the company, 
posted on a stake or tree at each end of the claim, 
together with the date of the day when the claim 
was made; and all claims now made shall be staked 
off in conformity with these resolutions, within five 
days from the date of the adoption of these resolu- 

"5. — That the size of the claim, the names and num- 
ber of men composing the company that holds the 
claim, together with a brief description of the loca- 
tion of the same, so that it may be identified, shall, 
within ten days after the claim is made, be filed in 
the office of the Justice of the Peace, in whose dis- 
trict the same may be located. And all persons 
holding such claims shall file the same within ten 
days from this meeting, and all persons hereafter 
making claims (within ten days after the claims are 
located), or otherwise, said claims shall be forfeited. 

" 6. — In all cases where claims are held by a com- 
pany working jointly, they shall not be required to 
work in more than one place; but where held by 
individuals, each several claim must be worked. 

7. — Whenever a claim has been abandoned, and 
such can be clearly proved before the Justice of the 
Peace, where such filing was made, said claim shall 

be forfeited to the person or persons establishing 

such proof. 

" 8. That these rules, regulations, and proceedings, 

he signed by the president and secretary of this 

meeting, and tiled in the Justice's office at Drytown. 

•'T. J. Lawton, /Yes., 
" Wm. Salter, Sec." 

The number of talented men in this Convention 
was noted, although it was not unusual for such 
bodies, in the early fifties, to be composed of men 
who might have sat in Legislative halls, with credit 
to themselves and all concerned. 

The Convention was hopeful, and even confident, 
of success. Some, who were not in possession of 
satisfactory claims, wished the size to be cut dow r n. 
It was urged that fifty feet of a vein, which probably 
had no bottom, was quite enough to satisfy any 
reasonable man. One thousand dollars a ton was 
set as the probable value of the quartz. Some of 
the veins were fifty, and even a hundred feet wide. 
It was easy to figure up into millions within a short 
distance of the top on a fifty-foot claim. Some 
ventured to say that the quartz would not pay 
a dollar a pound. Mr. Davidson, being a candid, 
unexcitable man, was called upon to give bis opinion 
as to the value of it. He said that he had no wish 
to deceive the Convention, but he doubted if the 
rock would average more than ten cents per pound, 
or tw r o hundred dollars per ton (he had not then 
started his mill); and claims were made one hundred 
and twenty feet, with two extra claims to the dis- 
coverer. What would have been the feelings of the 
Convention if they could have foreseen that one- 
tenth of the sum named would come to be considered 
very rich? Scarcely one of all the number who 
assembled that day, but what retired from quartz 
mining, bankrupt and discouraged. This, however, 
is anticipating. 

Quartz mining was now fairly inaugurated. In 
a short time, the Granite State, the Herbertville, the 
Union. Eureka, Badger, Wolverine (the last three 
being consolidated in the Hayward mine), Oneida, 
all came in a short time. The Grauite State was 
the first to put up a mill with iron shaft, tappits and 
stems. John Conness was a stockholder in this 
mine. Garfield, afterwards Governor of Washington 
Territory, invented the stamp with tapering stem 
and socket, to correspond. Shaking tables were 
introduced in 1852, and were in use until 1860. The 
Chile mill, with rotating balls and revolving barrel, 
was introduced by P. M. Eandal. The last is still 
used. Boasting the ore was tried, but, though it 
was more easily pulverized, it was soon abandoned 
as not satisfactory. The sulphurets were saved by 
means of blankets or rawhides, placed along the 
bottoms of the sluices, and amalgamated in the Chile 
mill, or revolving barrel. 


Perhaps no term more inappropriate could have 
been selected. The name is inappropriate because 



there is no principal lode or vein at all, but rather 
a series or system of veins, chutes or chimneys along 
a certain range of country, varying in width from 
two hundred to four thousand, or perhaps eight 
thousand feet. In some places there are hundreds 
of veins, as on the Black hills and Murphy's ridge, 
some of which are mere threads, ramifying in every 
direction. In other places, the ore-bearing ground 
is narrowed within walls two or three hundred feet 
apart, as at the Keystone, Plymouth, and the Hay- 
ward mines; though even here, as we shall see, the 
ore is not concentrated in a single vein. The term 
mother, is also misleading, for it gives the idea that 
all other veins are connected somehow, and fed from 
this, than which nothing could be more erroneous. 
Evidently, the first theorists presumed that all 
mineral veins came out of the interior regions of 
the earth, where the fires are always glowing, and 
that down some thousand feet all the veins of quartz, 
big and little,- would come together in one main 
lode, extending the whole length of the State, or as 
far as the gold range extends. 


The Gwin mine, though in Calaveras county, is 
really the beginning of the series of veins which 
have made Amador the richest county in the State 
in quartz. This is in Rich gulch, which is supposed 
to have derived its wealth from the breaking down 
of the vein matter. The owner, Dr. Gwin, is better 
known as Duke Gwin, from his having that title»con- 
ferred on him for, valuable aid to the Emperor Max- 
imillian of Mexico. The mine is said to be paying 
well. The series of veins here is quite wide, several 
other veins cropping out a thousand feet or more to 
the east. 

The Casco mine is on the north side of the Mokel- 
umne river, and consequently in Amador county. 

This mine was worked in 1868 by J. E. Harden- 
burg some eight hundred feet deep, the rock being 
crushed by a water-mill of twenty stamps, not far 
from the mine. The owner sunk twenty thousand 
dollars in the operation. The Casco mine is on the 
eastern side of the range, which here is quite wide. 
Abraham McKinney has a mine on the west side of 
the range, which is yet undeveloped, but which 
shows some very rich specimens, some of which are 
of singular appearance, containing gold in crystal- 
line forms in coarse granulated quartz. Persons 
who entertain an opinion that gold is deposited in a 
melted state, will find a puzzling problem in these 
specimens. The rock east of here (hanging-wall) is 
syenitic or stratified rock, resembling granite, vary- 
ing in texture and character at every dividing seam. 
On the west the wall rock (foot-wall) is the hard 
metamorphic slate sometimes termed by the miners 
" blue granite." 


This singular formation is the Mother Lode in 
its integrity with the foot and hanging-Avails washed 

away and occupied by ravines, Murphy's gulch and 
Black gulch on one side, and Hunt's gulch on the 
other. It is likely that the gouge, which is generally 
a soft, clayey mass, which seems to have been formed 
by the slow grinding of the walls against the vein, 
gave direction to the course of the water which 
finally eroded them away. On the west side of the 
ridge the miners have followed the gouge down in 
places to a considerable depth for the gold that lies 
on the foot-wall. The ravines were, perhaps, the 
richest ever found in the county, as they were 
worked with profit for twenty years, one set of 
miners after another taking away their "piles." 

The ridge is a network of small veins which ramify 
in every direction through a rather soft earthy slate. 
Some of the seams are immensely rich, four or five 
hundred dollars being taken out of a bucketful .of the 
rotten rock. Sometimes the gold is found in combi- 
nation with arsenic, or arsenical sulphurets, which 
pay a thousand dollars or more to the ton, though 
the tons are not many, as the veins may not be a 
half inch in thickness. In places the ridge is being 
washed down by hydraulic power. As much of the 
gold is too fine to be saved by this process, much 
must be lost. In other instances the small veins of 
quartz are mined out and crushed, paying good 
wages. " There is millions in it," i. e., the hill or 
ridge, but how to get it out economically is the ques- 
tion. Isaac N. Dewitt owns twenty acres of this 
ridge, being a long strip four hundred feet wide along 
the center. 

Many experienced miners think all these veins 
will come together below, and offer as a reason for 
this opinion that the wall rocks are converging as 
they go down. James Morgan, a man with much 
experience in mining, is of this opinion, and is now 
running a cross cut some four hundred feet below the 
summit of the ridge, to test the theory. A shaft 
sunk four hundred feet on the east side of the ridge, 
did not expose any workable vein. 


This once very rich mine, some two thousand feet 
or more to the east of the last-named mme, is not 
worked at present. It is said that in 1856 the Huff- 

aker brothers and Harris, found quartz that 

would pay twenty thousand dollars per ton. The 
gold was found in bunches or pockets. Like all 
pocket veins, this one marred about as many fortunes 
as it made. James Morgan is now sinking on this 
lode with good prospects. This vein is believed to 
have supplied the gold that enriched the hills around 
the south side of the Butte Basin. 


Is at the head of Hunt's gulch, on the eastern side 
of the Mother Lode. It is a curiosity, and is 
worthy of observation. It is a rather thin vein of 
good looking quartz, with an enormous mass of bar- 
ren quartzose rock for a foot-wall, the whole mass 
•being considerable out of the range of Murphy's 



ridge, which ie bhoughl to be the main lode. North 
of Murphy's the quartz seems to be wanting, though 

a few small veins crop out over a space perhaps half 
a mile wide, some of these being in the hard, meta 
morphio slale, which is supposed to have been the axis 
of elevation when llie mountian chains were formed. 
These veins may he traced along the ridge west of 
Jackson and the Oneida. Though they contain some 
gold they pinchout at a short distance from the sur- 
face, and are avoided by quartz miners. 

There has been considerable prospecting in the 
neighborhood of Jackson, and several times the 
announcement of the beginning of the quartz mining 
era was made, but it never came. So many promising 
mines were discovered that in 1862 the Kearsing 
brothers erected a four-stamp mill and arastra, run 
by water-power, for custom work. The mill was 
afterwards enlarged to ten stamps, but it was not a 
paying concern. In 1862 


Was discovered by Leonard Coney, who put up a 
mill with sixteen stamps, with works to reduce the 
sulphurets, though the Platner process was not intro- 
duced at that time. Some very good runs were made, 
realizing ten thousand dollars per month. In April, 
1866, it was sold by Charles T. Meader, who had 
been running it, to Dr. Zeile, of San Francisco, for 
seventy-five thousand dollars. Work was sus- 
pended until within the past two years, since which 
time new hoisting works and mill, with all the lat- 
est improvements, have been placed on the mine. 
As this is considered the model mill of the county, 
a description of it will be in place. The hoisting 
works over the shaft have powerful pumps, Avhich 
can be set in motion without interfering with the 
other machineiy. An air-compresser saves the work 
of striking the drills, while an automatic dumper 
does away with the dangerous work of bucket land- 
ing, by which so many men have been injured. 
The rock is can-ied on a tramway to the upper story 
of the mill, where a " grizzly " separates the fine 
from the coarse rock, the latter going into a rock- 
breaker, which prepares it for the stamps. From 
the rock breaker the quartz goes to the automatic 
feeder, a machine that seems almost endowed with 
life, so closely does it watch the batteries, supplying 
them with quartz at the moment the stamps begin 
to strike the bed of the mortar. The action is sim- 
ple and reliable. The idea originated with James 
Tullock, of Volcano, Avho erected the first one some 
years ago. Several designs have been patented 
since, but his holds a place yet among quartz-mills. 
The tappit or collar around the stem of the stamp, 
by means of which the cam raises the stamp, is the 
agent employed. It is put in connection with a 
revolving belt or table, containing the quartz to be 
fed to the battery, so that when the stamp descends 
to the bottom of the mortar, the tappit moves the 
table, and drops some rock into the battery, which 

ii continues to do until the want is supplied. An 
automatic feeder is required for each battery. When 

the pulverized quartz has passed through the shak- 
ing fables, and of her machinery for saving the free 
gold, it passes fco the machine known as the " Frue 
Concentrator," for saving the sulphurets. This 
machine is a recent invention, and considered a 
great improvement over either the Buddie or 
the Hendy concentrator. The pulp is caught on 
a wide rubber belt, which, with an oscillating motion, 
is made to carry the tailings up an incline against 
a gentle stream of water, which washes away the 
lighter particles, leaving the sulphurets, which are 
heavier, to adhere, by their own specific gravity, to 
the endless belt, which passes into a water-bath, 
removing the sulphurets, which are thus saved in a 
very concentrated condition. 


Of reducing sulphurets was introduced into Cali- 
fornia by a miner by the name of Deakin, and is now 
in general use. By this process the sulphurets form- 
erly lost are made to pay from fifty to six hundred 
dollars per ton, amounting in some instances to twenty 
per cent, of the entire gold product. The "chlorination 
works " is a long building with a furnace some forty 
feet long, and sixteen feet wide with arched roof from 
one to three feet above the floor. There are several 
openings along the sides to put in and withdraw 
the charge, (which, in a furnace of the above size, 
wou^d be about three tons,) also to observe the pro- 
gress of the work. The first heat is moderate and is 
intended to expel the moisture, after which the heat 
is increased and the sulphur is set on fire. This 
burns for some hours, keeping the mass at a dull red 
heat; after the sulphur has burned out the fire must 
be increased so as to drive off the arsenic and other 
base metals. Too much heat will now volatilize the 
gold, which will be found gilding the roof of the 
arch. Too little fire leaves the fine particles of gold 
coated with a metal that would prevent the last and 
most important process (to be described hereafter), 
so that constant watchfulness is requisite, though a 
trusty man, without being a chemist, soon learns the 
necessary treatment. The mass, after being roasted 
from twenty-four to thirty-six hours, is allowed to 
cool off, and is then place in tubs five or six feet wide 
and two feet high with tight-fitting covers, where it 
is subjected for thirty-six hours to the action of 
chlorine gas which dissolves the gold, forming the 
chloride of gold which is soluble in water. The pro- 
cess of making gold soluble is particularly described, 
because it may be necessary to remember this when 
we consider the origin of the gold deposits in the 
quartz veins. The chlorine gas is obtained by the 
action of sulphuric acid on common salt and oxide of 
manganese, all cheap articles. It is a corrosive gas 
eating up other metals as well as gold, and also 
destroys animal matter, purifying the atmosphere of 
offensive odors. Water is now turned into the tubs 



and the gold comes out as a greenish-brown liquid; 
in fact, gold is of a green color, notwithstanding the 
ordinary opinion, as may be seen by looking through 
a very thin film of gold, which will appear of a beau- 
tiful green. Water is run through the mass until no 
green tinge is left. Sulphate of iron (copperas) is 
now added to the solution and in a short time the 
gold begins to settle in the shape of a brown powder, 
which, upon being put in the crucible, melts into gold 
995. fine, worth twenty dollars per ounce. The cost 
of reducing sulphurcts this way is about seventeen 
dollars per ton. It is expected that the cost of 
extracting and reducing ore at this mill will fall 
below two dollars per ton. If this can be accom- 
plished, it will, perhaps, cause many other mines of 
low grade ore to be worked. The works, with the 
powerful and massive machinery, form a wonderful 
contrast to the mills at Amador thirty years ago. 


Is a pocket mine and was discovered in 1863 while 
the owner was digging a post hole. Some four 
thousand dollars were taken out in a few days. The 
vein is two and a half feet thick at the surface; at a 
depth of forty feet it was five feet thick; turned from 
a perpendicular to a horizontal for thirty feet, and 
then ran down nearly vertically again. It has pro- 
duced eighteen thousand dollars at an expense of six 
thousand dollars. It has many times made its owner 
happy, but the rock when away from a pocket is 
distressingly poor. Mr. Hinkley owns about four 
hundred feet of the vein. 

A few hundred yards east of the Zeile mine is a 
slash vein, so called, running nearly at right angles 
with the ordinary course. At the Gate is another of 
great width and nearly a thousand feet long. They 
are seen occasionally in other parts of the county, 
and, although they have never been worked to any 
extent, they are important as throwing considerable 
light on the formation of quartz veins. 

The Monterichard is a cross vein in the hard 
metamorphic slate about two miles west of Jackson. 
It was discovered in 1876 by a Frenchman who gave 
his name to the mine. It has paid very well, making 
for thirty-two months from two thousand to three 
thousand seven hundred and fifty dollars per month 
with a mill of ten stamps. The vein is narrow, vary- 
ing from six inches to two feet, with walls well 
defined. It was run by James Meehan, Sanguinetti, 
and Muldoon, until March, 1880, when it was sold to 
Lloyd Tevis, of San Francisco, for twenty thousand 
dollars. The new owner put in ten more stamps, 
making a twenty-stamp mill. The vein pinched out 
soon after and the mine is suspended. It is generally 
thought Tevis got the worst of the bargain. 


So named from its discoverer, was developed b} T 
John Fullen, James Fleming, and James Bergon, 
working the rock at the Oneida mill. In 1871 it was 

taken by a joint-stock company, the Richlings being 
large owners. The mine has hardly been a success, 
and in 1880 it was closed down. The vein is close to 
the foot-wall and has pitched rapidly to the east, 
following a pitch of nearly forty-five degrees, which 
is considered very flat. It is believed that it will 
eventually join a vein about six hundred feet to the 
east, called the " Volunteer." The lode does not fol- 
low the rift of the slate and consequently is not a 
true fissure vein. 


Was on the eastern part of the lode near the Gate. 
It did not pay and was shut down. Stephen Kendal 
was the manager of the works. There seems to have 
been no substantial wall rock and consequently no 
permanent vein. 


This location was made in 1851, by a number of 
men from the central part of New York. Like all 
the companies engaged at that time in quartz min- 
ing, the Oneida had extravagant expectations. 
When a run had been made, the interested parties 
gathered around to see the batteries cleaned up. 
The sand, quicksilver, and amalgam were gathered, 
and the operator commenced the panning process, 
turning off the quicksilver as it ran together. As the 
sand was washed out the amalgam grew less and less 
as did the prospects of the miners. The whole pro- 
ceeds of several daj^s' crushing finally shrunk to a 
handful containing a few ounces of gold, not half 
enough to pay expenses, to say nothing about a 
fortune. The mill and mine were leased, in 1854, to 
Dr. E. B. Harris for a nominal rent, for the purpose 
of having it developed. He was endowed with 
great physical strength and indomitable energy, as 
well as good judgment, and by selecting good rock, 
and acting as fireman, engineer, amalgamator, 
machinist, miner, and superintendent, by turns, 
making about a dozen men of one and that one him- 
self, he made the mine pay, for that year, about 
twenty thousand dollars over expenses. At that 
time machinery was generally taken to Sacra- 
mento for repairs, necessitating long delays and 
much expense. One day a cam-seat, or groove, 
on the shaft which holds the key gave away, 
and the cam was dangling like a broken leg. 
To take out the shaft and send it to Sacramento 
was expensive, both in time and money, and 
it was resolved to drill a hole through both cam and 
shaft and put a large pin through them to hold the cam. 
By superhuman exertion this was done in about three 
hours, the order to " fire up " ringing simultaneously 
with the coming through of the point of the drill, and 
in half an hour the mill was pounding away. A 
year or two afterward the mine was rented to Swain 
of lone, who in one year lost as much as Harris made. 

The mine afterward fell into the hands of Fullen, 
Flemming, Bergon & Co., who worked it with but 
modex-ate success for some years. About 1865, it 



was purchased by William M. Stewart, then U.S. 
Senator for Nevada, James Morgan, and others, for one 
hundred thousand dollars, of which sum the share- 
holders received eighty thousand dollars, the other 
twenty thousand dollars going to the negotiators of 
the Hale. SeatOD and Parley. The mine was retim- 
hered, the mill enlarged to sixty stamps, and new* 
hoisting works erected, making the mine an invest- 
ment to tlic stockholders of something over a quarter 
of a million. The vein was fifty feet thick, though 
of low grade, and with improved machinery it was 
expected to realize large dividends; hut the mine 
was an expensive one to work, the walls being soft 
aud apt to swell or crawl, and also full of water. 
Sometimes great masses of soft earth, mud, and 
youye would break loose and run down the stopes 
and shafts, burying up or clogging the lower works. 
Sometimes a shaft would close up, timbers two feet 
in diameter being slowly crushed endwise into kin- 
dling-wood. Where there was so much movement 
underground, the surface must become unstable also, 
and the hoisting works required frequent rebuilding 
or adjustment. The mine proved a losing concern 
and became a grave for aboutfour hundred thousand 

It is now owned by a Boston company, and is 
under the superintendence of Robert Robinson. 
Water-power has been substituted for steam-power, 
making a saving of many thousand dollars in a year; 
the water is to some degree exhausted, and at a 
lower level the walls become harder and more easily 
timbered, so that the mine, almost for the first time 
in its history, has been, perhaps, put on a paying 

The depth on the slope is eleven hundred and 
fifty feet, but at the lower level the vein is nearly 
flat, and the vertical depth is not much over six 
hundred feet. The eastern or lower workings are 
about in a line with the buddle house, perhaps four 
hundred feet east of the shaft. At this point the 
vein, which seems to have followed the rift of the 
slate, and is, therefore, the true fissure, is nearly 
pinched out, and a drift of six hundred feet length- 
wise the vein, failed to discover any swell or deposit. 
A single boulder or bunch of quartz weighing a few 
hundred pounds, and very rich, was all that was 
found at this depth that was encouraging. How this 
was deposited, or perhaps lost there, is a question for 
geologists. As the lower level has been allowed to 
fill up with water, it is probable that no deeper 
explorations are contemplated. 

There are some encouraging indications of a vein or 
body of ore in what is called the west wall. In 
working out bodies of ore left in the upper levels, a 
stringer, or thin vein of quartz, was found leading 
to the west, which experienced miners think indi- 
cates another ore body. If this should be realized 
the mine may have a brilliant future. 

* Since writing the above, we learn that the mine has indefi- 
nitely suspended work. 

North of the Oneida, the range is buried for some 
distance under a pliocene river, with perhaps two 
hundred feet of gravel, sand, and boulders. As this 
has not been found to be rich, no explorations under 
it have been made, and if the lode crops out it has 
not been seen. Farther north is the 


Or, more properly, a prospect hole, for no paying 
quartz was found, though the shaft was sunk several 
hundred feet deep, at a cost of some twenty or 
thirty thousand dollars. The experiment was made 
b}' Hall McAllister of San Francisco. 


The next mine north of the Summit mine is the 
Consolidated Amador, better known by the name of 
the man whose energy, with a good share of luck, 
developed it into, probably, the best-paying gold 
mine in the world. In 1853 three mines on the 
south side of Sutter creek — Wolverine, Eureka, and 
Badger— were struggling for existence, Alvinza 
Hay ward owning the largest interest in the one last 
named. None of the quartz mines at that time 
were giants ready at the asking to bestow fortunes; 
on the contrary, they were always requiring enor- 
mous outlays for sinking shafts, running cross-cuts, 
timber, wood, and machinery — all making quartz 
mining a precarious employment. The Wolverine 
Avas among the first to fail. The Eureka was divided 
into about sixty shares, most of the holders being 
working men. The Badger was equipped with 
hoisting works and a mill on the creek below the 
town. The quartz was hauled on wagons to the 
mill. Whether because the rock was inferior or 
unskillfully handled, it hardly ever paid expenses, 
oftener less than more, to such an extent that 
the mine, though a promising one, had promised so 
much that its credit was utterly destroyed. Ninety 
thousand dollars or more hung over it, not like the 
sword of Damocles, suspended by a single hair, but 
due for wood, steel, provisions, and labor, besides 
borrowed money. Many times the proprietor was 
tempted to throw up the works and turn them over to 
the creditors; but they as often told him to go on; 
that he could make it pay if any one could. Often 
on a Sunday morning, when the laborers came for 
their pay, a dollar or two for tobacco money was all 
that could be spared. On one occasion, the propri- 
etor was seen carrying wood on his back from the 
side-hill to keep the engine running. A Mr. Norton 
furnished wood on long time, and relieved that 
source of solicitude. Four or five years of such 
struggling had broken down, one after another, the 
most of those who had commenced quartz mining in 
1851. In 1857 the struggle still -continued. There 
was a change impending. The pay chimney was 
struck, and now the double eagles, instead of scant 
half-dollars, w 7 ere paid to the men. The pay-streak 
was likely to run into the Eureka gi-ound, and the 
owner quietly commenced buying up shares of that 



company's stock. Five hundred dollars a share, 
considering the mill which they had erected 
at an estimated expense of thirty thousand dollars, 
just the amount at which the shares were rated, was 
not too much. It was soon known that a majority 
of the stock had passed into his hands, and the bal- 
ance hastened to part with their stock, selling as low 
as four hundred dollars per share; though assured 
that no freezing out was intended, the shares all 
passed into Mr. Hay ward's control. It now became 
known that it had been placed on a permanent, pay- 
ing basis, yielding from twentj'-eight thousand to 
sixty-five thousand dollars per month. 


As this was not only the best mine in the range, 
but the deepest, the explorations having reached the 
depth of two thousand two hundred and fifty 
feet, a particular description of its locality, wall 
rocks, and surface indications, will be interesting, as 
throwing light on the nature of quartz veins in gen- 
eral. Although there were large masses of rock in 
the vein, and covering the ground in the vicinity of 
this mine, the ravine below was only moderately 
rich. The surface rock that was within a few hundred 
feet of the top, paid from eight to twelve dollars a 
ton only. In the early days of quartz mining, when 
the means of closely saving the gold had not been 
discovered, this would hardly pay; though after the 
mine passed into other hands, the same rock, by 
means of improved machinery, being taken out and 
reduced for two dollars and seventy-five cents per 
ton, according to the report of the superintendent, 
J. C. Faul, paid one hundred and fifty thousand dol- 
lars in dividends. The wall rocks of the range, which 
here was only two or three hundred feet wide, were 
firm, metamorphic slate, called by the miners, gran- 
ite, a term which often misleads persons seeking 
information. It scarcely ever has any of the appear- 
ance of true granite, and in most instances is simi- 
lar in texture to the great reef of rock lying west 
of the quartz belt, or range of mining towns, 
which has already been spoken of as one of the 
axes of elevation, and the western boundary of the 
ancient valley. This wall rock, on the east side of 
the vein, went down, solid and firm, about one thou- 
sand seven hundred and fifty feet, after which it was 
much broken up, the quartz paying to this depth. 
There were two principal veins; perhaps deposits 
would be a better term, as but one of the deposits 
was in the shape of a vein, the other being called a 
boulder vein, from its being in detached masses, like 
boulders, through occupying a regular rift or fissure 
in the slate. The continuous vein was next to the 
hanging or eastern wall, and both veins had a pitch 
or slope to the east of about twenty feet to the hun- 
dred, so that a perpendicular shaft, to reach the vein 
at a depth of two thousand feet, must be started 
about lour hundred feet east of the croppi ngs. it 
may be as well to mention here that experienced 
miners never expect to find the true course of a vein 

until they have sunk from four to eight hundred 
feet on it. An ore-bearing vein or fissure, if an 
extensive one, is always more or less open, admit- 
ting water. A few calculations as to the power of 
displacement in a seam containing water may be 
interesting. " Water presses in proportion to its 
perpendicular height." At a depth of thirty-three 
feet the lateral pressure is two thousand one hun- 
dred and sixty pounds to the square foot, at sixty-six 
twice that, at one hundred three times, and so on as 
far as the water reaches, which is usually as far as 
any ore is found. Let us now estimate the thrust 
or lateral pressure on a hill one thousand feet high, 
and exposed to the action of the displacing force 
along a distance of another thousand feet, though 
hills containing ore are not often elevated above the 
surrounding country more than a few hundred feet; 
but the power of displacement acts in other instances 
as well as in mineral veins, as a powerful agent in 
the formation of valleys, and more especially, as we 
shall hereafter see, in the formation of the mineral 
veins themselves. Making the pressure at thirty- 
three feet a ton, (in round numbers, for the sake of 
convenience,) at one hundred feet it is three tons; at 
five hundred feet, fifteen tons, which will be the 
average of the one thousand feet in depth, or fifteen 
thousand tons for the column, one foot later- 
ally, and one thousand times that for the whole 
thrust of the little seam of water of, say, an eighth 
of an inch in thickness, making fifteen millions of 
tons. What wonder then that we find the surfaces of 
quartz veins thrown hundreds of feet out of line, or 
in some instances doubled quite over. If those per- 
sons who are so ready to invoke the agencies of 
earthquakes for every displacement of rocks and 
mineral veins, would study the effect of agencies, 
silent and slow, yet irresistible as fate, now at 
work, they would not be obliged to conceive of 
mountains being tossed from place to place like foot- 

Both veins had a dip to the north, the boulder 
vein soon leaving the other, which only dipped 
slightly, so that it passed into the Eureka ground 
some hundred feet below. At a depth of six hun- 
dred feet, the hanging-wall or eastern vein pinched 
nearly out. As the pay was mostly in this vein, 
the other paying only in spots, the mine for awhile 
appeared to have been worked out; but the same 
pluck which had developed it came in play, and the 
gouge, or soft clay in the fissure, was followed down 
two hundred feet further, and the vein opened better 
than ever. A vein of sulphurets, one inch in thick- 
ness, ran diagonally across the main lode, that was 
half gold. Immense quantities were surreptitiously 
taken by the workmen, who were compelled to strip 
themselves on coming out of the shaft, step across 
the room, put on other clothes, leaving the mining 
suit to be examined by the inspector, a person 
appointed for the purpose. All sorts of devices 
were employed to conceal the gold. One miner 



threw away b pair of old boots. The inspector 
examined them, and found several ounces of speci 
mens, which the owner expected to get after eight- 
fall should enable him to get the boots anobs< 
Borne concealed specimens in their hair; and even 
the antta was Used for thai purpose. A small quartz 
mill was sot up in an abandoned tunnel, for reducing 
rich rock. Notwithstanding all possible vigilance 
on the pari of the superintendents, a greal Heal was 

stolen. A kind of demoralization existed among 

many of the miners, especially those of foreign birth) 
which caused such abstractions to be considered as 
commendable, sharp tricks rather than ciimes. 

A greal number of persons have lost their lives 
here, some by carelessness, and some by unavoidable 
accidents. Any one may sec that familiarity with 
danger will breed contempt for it, by watching the 
miners going up or down the shaft. Three or four 
Will get into the tub, and as many more on the out- 
side, and go up or down as though they were riding 
along a smooth road instead of being suspended, 
where a fall would precipitate them a thousand feet, 
against timbers and rocks. An indiscreet movement 
of the head, when the bucket is in rapid motion, 
has resulted in shaving a man's head half away. 
Sometimes incorrect signals are made with the bell 
wire, and a bucket is raised when it should be low- 
ered; at other times, a trap along a level will be 
left open, and a man walking along with a dim 
light will fall a hundred or two feet, to be killed or 
maimed for life. Sometimes a ladder will give 
away, and a man will fall from the carelessness or 
awkwardness of the carpenter who put up the lad- 
ders. Some sixty men had been lost in the first 
twenty years of its working. 

Although the mine was called the Hayward mine, 
several other men have had interests at different 
times. When the mine was in debt, partial inter- 
ests were disposed of to obtain necessary means to 
work it. 

O. L. Chamberlain, Dan Fiddler, Charles McNe- 
mair, and A. H. Rose, have been at times part 
owners. The hitter's interest was a result of a piece 
of questionable enterprise, not, however, unusual 
with that smart operator in quartz mining. In 1864 
or 1865 a number of persons were willing to take the 
usually unprofitable position of Public Administrator. 
After the election it was learned that not only a share 
in the rich Hayward mine, but a hundred thousand 
dollars in dividends, were the unclaimed assets of 
Charles MaNemair, who went to Frazer river in 1S57. 
before the Hayward mine had become a paying insti- 
tution, and was supposed to be lost. In due course 
of time Mr. Tynan, the Public Administrator, filed 
a petition for letters of administration, showing at 
the same time probable proof of the death of McNe- 
mair, who was last seen going up the river in a boat, 
which was reported to have foundered with all hands 
on board. A stay of proceedings was obtained by 
the introduction of an affidavit to the effect that 

McNemair had been seen in British Columbia subse- 
quently to the alleged loss of the boat, and conse- 
quently tnigbl he -till living. It is said that this 
affidavit was procured by A. II. Rose, to delay events 
until he could purchase the interests of the different 
heirs of the McNemair estate. At. all events, he soon 
appeared as claimant, he having sent a trusty agent 
to Illinois, the former home of McNemair. who had 
purchased the whole estate, a share in the mine, as 
well as the accumulated dividends, for about three 
thousand dollars, a mere bagatelle compared to its 
real value. What representations were made to 
effect this transaction is not known; hutsevcral visits 
were made to California by lawyers in the interests 
of the heirs, and it was some years before the matter 
was hushed up. It is needless to say that no more 
information of the missing man was received after 
the purchase of the estate by Rose. 

After the mine had been successfully worked for 
about fifteen years, it was sold to a joint-stock com- 
pany for six hundred thousand dollars, and was listed 
on the mining market at the Stock Exchange as the 
( lonsolidated Amador. The mine was too well known 
to be used as a bait for the public, and was not called 
on the board a great while. The mine perhaps paid 
for itself but did not equal the expectation of the 
stockholders. It was twice burned out, the immense 
amount of timber in the mine and the gVeat cham- 
bering, making it an impossibility to stay a confla- 
gration after it had once got fairly started. 

The first of these fires occurred in April, 1870. It 
was supposed that it originated from a lighted candle 
being left on a timber in the north shaft. The men 
below were hoisted out of the other shafts and the 
mine closed up. Some days after an examination 
was made; a number of men going down the shaft 
were rescued with the utmost difficulty on account 
of the noxious gasses engendered by the fire. As 
the lower levels were still burning, the shafts were 
covered up and the hoisting works removed. The 
mine was repaired at an enormous expense, as it was 
supposed that the rock would continue at an infinite 
depth, but though the sump, or advanced shaft, was 
carried down to two thousand two hundred and fifty 
feet, no ore body below the seventeen-hundred-foot 
level was worked. At that point the great lode had 
shrunken from forty to less than six feet in width, 
with a run from north to south of thirty feet, instead 
of four hundred and fifty, and very moderate in pay 
at that. The lower sinking failed to discover any 
new development of the vein ; in fact, the fissure was 
all that was found, and when the last great fire 
occurred, it was deemed best to abandon the localitj^ 
and open the mine in a new place, some six hundred 
feet towards the north, on the ground near the old 
Wolverine claim, which had been many years before 
consolidated with the Badger and Eureka. The rock 
now being taken out at a depth of four hundred and 
fifty feet, is not of the kind formerly found in the 
south end of the claim, but perhaps will pay for 

-•, ... 




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^^^HIIk till 

n hu l i i in i n n 1 1 1 1 1 1 n n uT TrTTnTnTrrfnTTTrrrTTTTT ! i ^ : n T Hj i n i i n 1 1 iT^ n u ti r mnThTT l 1 1 1 H I i i t * [m ' ''"-'"^""-"'"^ ""''"i - - — - 



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iTirroi » keys 



crushing. The superintendent does not expect to 
find good rock until the walls become well defined. 


Is the name given to a vein of quartz some two or 
three hundred feet east of the Wolverine. It was 
worked down four or five hundred feet, and, though 
some rich rock was found (a thousand dollars once 
being taken out of a candle-box full of rock), the vein 
was neither rich nor permanent, and the work was 
suspended. The wall rocks were hard, with little 
gouge, a surface opening only being indicated. 


Was on the north side of the creek. Some good 
rock was taken out of this ground, but, like the 
majority of quartz veins, has not made its owners rich. 
As this vein is located out of range with the other 
mines, many experienced miners believe that proper 
cross-cutting towards the west will be likely to strike 
a paying chimney. 


This ground was formerly owned by Hayward, 
who thought he had found a thousand dollars when 
he sold it to the Mahoney brothers for that sum. 
Though not equal to the Consolidated Amador, it 
made very handsome dividends for a good many 
years. The vein, forty feet wide or more, was 
worked down nearly eight hundred feet when work 
was suspended on account of the death of the last of 
the four Mahoney brothers, by consumption, in the 
course of a few years. A few years since it fell into 
the hands of Senator Stewart of Nevada. Some 
sinking was done by James Morgan of the Oneida 
Mining Company, nothing new being developed. 
The company erected a mill near the hoisting works, 
the rock formerly having been crushed by a water- 
mill on the creek some distance away. At a depth 
of eight hundred and fifty feet the vein is not well 
defined, the walls being much broken. The rock is 
supposed to pay only moderately. Those who saw 
this place in an early day would be ready to say 
that the quartz veins here made a sharp turn to the 
east, into what is called Tucker hill. This hill is 
netted with quartz veins sometimes in slate and often 
in the hard hanging-wall of the main range. Some 
small fortunes have been made out of the occasion- 
ally rich veins, which, though promising on the top, 
soon pinch out. Nearly all the surface has a little 
gold in it, and the gulches in the vicinity were the 
best around Sutter creek. 

The true direction of the main lode may be seen 
by the cavity made by the falling in of the upper 
portion of the mine worked twenty years ago. 


Or, as it is sometimes called, the Stanford mine, was 
the first discovery in Sutter creek. E. B. Mclntyre, 
Samuel Hanford, Levi Hanford, B. C. Downs, N. 
Drew, and others of Amador, formed a company in 

1851 to hunt a quartz mine. They first tried Quartz 
mountain near Lower Rancheria. This not proving 
satisfactory , they divided into smaller parties and tried 
other places. One of the parties came on the south 
side of the ridge, Sutter creek then having about a 
dozen inhabitants. Much money had, even then, 
been expended in sinking on barren veins, and the 
company had made it a condition that no shaft 
should be commenced until gold was found in the 
ledge or vein in place. Floating rock with gold in 
it was found on the flat west of the present Mahoney 
and Union locations. Some narrow veins were found 
on the hill-side near the sulphuret works, but these 
not proving satisfactory they ran an open cut a few 
feet in depth and struck the main lode, in which they 
found a speck of gold. As this satisfied the condi- 
tions of the incorporation, a shaft was commenced 
and good rock soon after discovered, from which, 
with modern machinery, fifty or seventy-five dol- 
lars to the ton could be extracted. 

They found a company of men working quartz on 
the south side of the Tucker hill, who set up a claim 
to the discovery they had made. To quiet all dis- 
putes, the south side company, consisting of Malva- 
ney, Sherwood, Armstrong, and others, were taken 
in, making the company which was thereafter called 
the " Union," numbering about sixteen men, E. B. 
Mclntyre being president, and N. Drew, secretary. 
A water-mill was builfc, near the present residence of 
B. C. Downs, with five stamps. Tbis was the first mill 
in Sutter Creek, the Hayward mill being next. 
David Armstrong, who afterwards built a saw-mill 
near Pino Grove, was the mill-wright. The power 
was a breast-wheel, with a wooden shaft and wooden 
cams, the latter being set into the shaft in mortises 
and curved at the end to match the tappits, which 
were also of wood, set into mortises in the square 
wooden stems of the stamps. Armstrong was a 
good mechanic, and the work was well done, though 
much power was lost in the unavoidable friction of 
the wooden machinery. It worked as well as could be 
expected, and something over expenses was made 
out of the quartz. The gold was saved on blankets 
laid along the sluices, which were washed every half- 
hour. Quicksilver was tried, but it would not unite 
with the gold. An amalgamator from the Nashville 
mine, on the Cosumnes, was hired to superintend 
the sluices. He discovered that the quicksilver was 
adulterated with lead; after this was gotten rid of 
there was no difficulty in amalgamation. 

In 1852 the mine and mill were leased to a com- 
pany that made five thousand dollars to each partner. 
After the expiration of the lease, the Union company 
again worked it, Frank Tibbetts being superintend- 
ent. It was a common report that two million 
dollars were taken out of the mine during the next 
eight years, but the company became bankrupt, and 
in October, 1859, the mine fell into the hands of 
Leland Stanford, who made B. C. Downs superin- 
tendent. Under his management the mine became 



highly remunerative. It was now oalled the •• Lin- 
coln," and was worked l>y D0WD8 and Stanford until 
1st::, wlicn it passed into the hands of Borne foreign 
capitalists, who put up a mill on t lie soutli side of the 
hill, and made other inprovements. At present the 
mine is no1 worked, the shaft and pumping machin- 
ery being used to drain the Mahoney mine. In this 
mine the paying vein was next to the hanging-wall, 
whi(d). as in the Mahoney, the adjoining mine, was 
the hard, metamorphie slate, called " blue granite " 
by the miners. A cross cut into it indicated no 
change or prospect of a parallel vein. The gouge 
was on the foot-wall, which at a depth of rive or six 
hundred feet, gradually changed to a quartzose char- 
acter. The pitch of the vein was sixty-seven to 
seventy degrees from horizontal, and was from two 
to twenty feet thick. It will be seen that this cluster 
of mines was practically exhausted at a depth of 
less than one. thousand feet, though deep sinking- 
may, as in the Hayward mine, reveal a stronger 
vein than the surface one; the well-defined foot and 
hanging-walls favoring the presumption. 

The most startling and serious accident that ever 
occurred in the mines in this county, happened 
here, in 1875. The following account taken from 
the Independent, a daily paper published at Sutter 
Creek at the time, will be read with interest: — 

"Now that the dead and alive are all out of the 
mine and proper^ cared for, we shall attempt to 
give a correct version of the affair. On Friday 
morning, at seven o'clock, the day shift were let 
down, consisting of fifteen men, part of whom went 
on the threc-hundred-foot, and part on the five-hun- 
dred-foot level. Those on the first were working 
in the stope, and three running the tunnel toward 
the old south shaft, which had been deserted for 
upwards of eight years, and was filled with stagnant 
water and foul air. Hardly had the drifters worked 
an hour when they broke through, and, at first, a 
small volume of water rushed in and drove them 
out. The alarm was immediately given, and fore- 
man Horn, with another man, went down. They 
found William Wadge and Antonio Robles almost 
dead from suffocation, and took them to the top. 
Wadge soon recovered and was taken home, while 
Robles suffered terribly for some hours, when he 
was removed, but died during the night. The most 
intense excitement now prevailed, and Superintendent 
Stewart, Foreman Horn, and others, commenced the 
work of getting to the remaining men below. The 
foul air had become so strong that no light would 
burn within thirty feet of the three-hundred-foot 
level. The workmen exerted every nerve to extri- 
cate the now supposed dead men. Finding that all 
chances were lost to pass the first level, the water 
buckets were put to use, and at night they had 
cleared the water out to within a few feet of the 
five- hundred-foot level, yet they could not descend. 
All night the work went on, and by morning four 
of the unfortunate men were found. Saturday after- 
noon the shaft was so cleared of the bad air, by the 
aid of the air pumps, that Mr. Horn managed to 
reach the top of the lower level. 

"About eight o'clock, while the water bucket was 
down, the signal rope was pulled and the bell rung, 
which caused great excitement above. When the 

buoket arrived at the top, there sat upon it Joseph 
Bath, and alive. He sang out to the astonished 
crowd, 'I am all right, there are three more alive 
in the lower level.' Header, imagine the scene. We 
cannot give it in words. The bucket was lowered, 
and up came the three other men. It is impossible 
for us to give a description of the feelings of the 
people at this time. Mr. Bath has given us a full 
account of the whole affair — at least what happened 
underground— and in all history nothing has ever 
come to our notice that can in the slightest compare 
with this. None of the men about the mine have 
a word of fault to find with the management from 
first to last. We hear nothing but praise to Super- 
intendent Stewart and Foreman Horn for their untir- 
ing perseverance. For over two days and nights 
Mr. Horn never left his post, and not till the last 
man was found and taken out did the brave man 
have any rest. 

" We here give the names of the dead and living 
in full. Dead — Patrick Frazier, leaves a wife and 
four children, Ireland; John Collier, wife and five 
children, Ireland; Dennis Lynch, Ireland, wife and 
two children; William Coombs, England, wife and 
two children; VV. H. Rule, England, single; Gr. B. 
Bobbino and Bartolomeo G-azzolo, single, Italy; 
Antonio Robles, Mexico, single; Nicolas Balulich, 
Austria, wife and four children. Saved — Jos. Bath, 
wife and four children, England; Bart. Curotto, 
wife and four children, Italy; Stefano Poclepovich, 
wife and six children, Italy; William Wadge, wife 
and several children, England; John O'Neil, Ireland. 
Mr. Frazier had an insurance of one thousand dol- 
lars, and Mr. Collier a policy of two thousand dol- 
lars in the Phoenix Mutual of Hartford. 

" Seven were buried on Sunday, and two on Mon- 
day. Never before has so much sadness and sorrow 
been mixed with so much joy and happiness as has 
been the case within the past three days." 

The accident was evidently owing to a faulty 
survey, which failed to indicate the proximity of 
the old works. It is said that some of the victims 
had presentiments of the danger, and bid their 
families good-bye on leaving home the morning of 
the accident. The feelings of the parties inclosed 
in the drift must have been terrible. It was expected 
that all were dead, but the drift being ascending, 
the chamber of air prevented the water from filling 
it. Those who attempted to swim out through the 
submerged end of the level were lost. Can imagina- 
tion conceive a more terrible situation ? 


Was a vein a mile east of the Mother Lode in the 
vicinity of Sutter creek. The rock was good-look- 
ing, and for a time the mine was considered promising, 
but it proved a losing concern, and is not worked 
at present. 


Is some mile or more north of the Sutter creek 
cluster, the intervening ground not having any 
strong ci-oppings indicating a large lode, though 
several shafts have been sunk on the thin veins 
which appear at the surface. The Herbertville is 
singular in having the foot-wall of the hard meta- 
morphie slate. The direction of this vein hai'dly 
conforms to the general trend of the Mother Lode; 



it is also somewhat out of range, being to the east of 
the other mines; from these circumstances it is con- 
sidered, by many experienced miners, as an acci- 
dental deposit, not occupying a true fissure. It was 
first worked in 1854, by Jones & Davis. The vein 
was twenty feet wide in places, and had & run of 
nearly three hundred feet, pinching out at the depth 
of six hundred feet. The rock was very ^good, fre- 
quently paying forty dollars a ton. It was among 
the best mines twenty years ago, but is not worked 
at present. If this was an accidental vein, it was a 
happy accident — for the owners at least. A cross- 
cut to the west might discover the true vein. A 
boulder, weighing several tons and quite rich in gold, 
was found, some years since, in a situation which 
indicated it as a float from a vein farther west. E. 
B. Mclntyre of Sutter Creek is the owner of this 
chance for a mine. 


Though promising at the beginning, these mines 
had ruined nearly all who had been connected with 
them. " Quartz-mine" debts were harder to collect 
than saw-mill debts, which is saying a great deal. 
Sharp practice was often necessary to get pay for 
hay, grain or timber furnished the mines. In 1857, 
Stone, of the Buena Vista ranch, sold the Spring Hill 
Company a quantity of hay, but when he called for 
his money he was put off on various pretexts. He 
was as shrewd as they and had a sheriff watch the 
mill, to attach the amalgam when it was taken up. 
It was hidden in the lower works out of his way. 
The shei'iff went down after it. The mining company 
quit pumping and let the shaft fill up with water> 
not soon enough, however, to save their amalgam. 
Stone got his pay. It is not intended to convey the 
idea that quartz mining is necessarily demoralizing, 
more than any other business which happens to be 
unprofitable. The mill and mine (Spring Hill) was 

owned by P. M. Eandal, B„ F. Pendleton, and 

Palmer until 1858, when they finally broke up, the 
creditors taking the property and running it with 
success, paying off the debts, after which, about 
1861, it fell into the hands of Isaac Perkins. He 
ran it for four years at a loss; then the Hoopers, 
father and son, tried it with no better success. In 
1867, work was suspended until it was consolidated 
with the Keystone Company's property. 


This mine has the most eventful history of any 
of the Amador mines. Though never called on 
the stock-boards, it has almost a world-wide reputa- 
tion. It was here that quartz mining in this county 
commenced, and here were made the first failures as 
well as successes. In the history of the beginning of 
quartz mining, we left the Spring Hill and Granite 
State making their first efforts in the work. We 
have seen that the Spring Hill was located by the 
minister company, consisting of Davidson, Herbert, 
Glover, and Cool. The Granite State was located by 

Wheeler; the Walnut Hill, named after Beecher's 
famous seminary near Cincinnati, by two brothers 
named Holt. The mill was in the house now used by 
the Keystone company, as an office and assaying 
room. After the mill and mine had been run for a 
while at a loss, the two brothers proposed to run it 
themselves for what they could make out of it. They 
found a bonanza, making twenty thousand dollars in 
a short time. 

The Granite State was located near the present 
Keystone mill; the Spring Hill towards the creek, 
these mines had, at first, been worked with arastras 
which made selected rock yield one hundred dollars 
per ton, but the process was slow and was abandoned, 
though an attempt was made to run the arastras by 
water-power, which also was a failure. These three 
mines constitute the property now known as the 


The Granite State and Walnut Hill. About 1857 
these two mines had some share-holders in common, 
one of whom, Samuel Mannon,made a proposition that 
they should consolidate, which was adopted, the new 
company being called the Keystone; but the move 
did not relieve the indebtedness which was over- 
whelming, everything being attached for much more 
than it was worth. A mortgage on it was foreclosed, 
but an older judgment, in the hands of A. H. Kose 
and Phil. Crusart, took the mine, Eose eventually 
becoming sole owner. It was not supposed to be a 
paying property, though it was worked more or less, 
the mill being used for custom work as well as for 
the mine. Once during the time it was sold to Frank 
Tibbetts, who run it at a serious loss, and the prop- 
erty reverted to Eose. In 1869 it was sold to J. M. 
McDonald, Michael Eeese and others, of San Fran- 
cisco, for one hundred and four thousand dollars, 
which was thought by outsiders to be an enormous 
price. It had previously been offered for fifteen 
thousand dollars, but the rich discoveries then being 
made along the range in the vicinity of the Seaton 
mine shot quartz up with alarming rapidity. It 
is currently reported also, that the Mint receipts for 
custom work, were used to enhance the apparent 
value of the mine. At all events the first workings 
were a total failure. The old proprietor was heard 
to say that that no child born would live to see the 
mine pay for itself!! This may all be legitimate 
among stock-dealers. 


Old miners had suspected another vein to the east 
in what was considered the hanging-wall, though 
this opinion was not shared by the former proprie- 
tors. Occasionally a blast in the hanging-wall 
would show stringers of quartz which indicated 
another deposit. A cross-cut was started, but a 
beginning had hardly been made when rich quartz 
was uncovered. Quartz in the hanging-wall was a 
novelty, but there it was sparkling with gold. The 



first month's crushing paid forty thousand < 1 < > lj . 

and the next — and ever since the same. By select- 
ing the lu-sl rock it could be made to pay a million 
a year for an indefinite time, but all rock that will 
pay two dollars, which is considered about the cost 
of extracting and crushing, is worked. The vein is 
a boulder vein, that is, lying in bunches, kidney- 
shaped, and varying in size from a few tons to forty 
thousand tons. The bunches are connected by 
stringers. It will be recollected that the boulder vein 
in the II ay ward mine was next the foot-wall, and 
was not uniformly rich. There seems to be no rule 
governing in such deposits. The pitch of the mine 
is about forty-five degrees. The following figures 
from the actual survey will give an idea of pitch. 

Distances. On the slope. 
1st Level 475 ft. 

6 th 

. 556 




294.77 ft. 

394.23 ft. 

358.63 " 

424.88 " 

439.25 " 

520.40 " 

523.75 " 

620.51 " 

612.76 « 

725.96 " 

696.61 " 

825.30 " 

The run north and south is seven hundred and 
sixty-five feet between the pinches. The best de- 
posits are found on the flat portion of the foot- wall, 
these places acting like a riffle in retaining the 
quartz. Within the last two years new and sub- 
stantial works have been erected. From the hoisting 
works to the mill, everything is arranged for con- 
venience. The ore falls into substantial ore houses, 
that will hold a month's crushing, so that a repair of 
the shaft or mine will cause no delay of work. 

One hundred and thirty men find constant em- 
ployment here. The rates of labor have not varied 
much for twenty years, and are 

For Under-ground Miners, per day, 

Laborers above ground, " " ....■'"' 

Blacksmiths " " 

Carpenters " " 

Engineers " " 

.$3 00 
. 2 50 
. 3 50 
. 4 00 
. 3 00 

The lumber used in one year is enormous: — 

5,000 round timbers'with sawed lumber $26,000 00 

25,000 pieces of lagging, @ $95 00 per M 2,375 00 

2,000 cords of wood @ $6 00 per cord 12,000 00 

It will be seen that nearly two hundred thousand 
dollars is distributed annually by this mine in the 
matter of expenses. 

The Assessor furnishes the following report of the 
proceeds for 187!). which may approximate the facts: 

Amount of rock crushed, in tons 39,000 

Total yield $451,000 00 

Expenses claimed by mine 273,000 00 

allowed by Assessor 1 95,000 00 


The history of these mines would be incomplete 
without Tin account of the daring attempt, under 
cover of an agricultural claim, to obtain possession 
of all these mines. In August, 1869, that portion of 
the county was surveyed and scctionized by J. 
G. Mather, and the plot of the section and mines, 
and other improvements thereon, reported to the 
general office at San Francisco. 

A. If. Eose had a vineyard and farm east of the 
town of Amador; so it was supposed that it would be 
on the east half-section, section thirty-six. As sec- 
tions sixteen and thirty-six in each township had 
been donated to the State for school purposes, no 
alarm was raised or objections interposed when a 
patent for the east half-section was applied for, and 
obtained from the State; though the fact that Henry 
Casey, instead of A. H. Eose, the actual owner of 
the vineyard, applied for and obtained the deed to 
the land, Eose acting as his business agent, would 
naturally cause inquiry and suspicion of fraud. 

The plot, as subsequently corrected, and now on 
file in the State Surveyor General's office at San 
Francisco, is as follows: — 

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DOJS | §, 

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Y p-asi 

\f £Si\ 

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VS-3 3 =\ 

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Section 36, T. 7 N., R. 10 E. 

T. 7N.,R.11E 

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When the plot had been consummated Henry Casey 
disappeared, and A. H. Eose appeared, armed with 
a deed from the State, as the claimant for millions 
worth of property. It is not necessary to follow the 
matter through the courts. It is sufficient to say 
that it was finally carried up to the Secretary of the 
Interior. The following, from the Washington cor- 
respondent of the Sacramento Union, will give a clear 
idea of the dangers the Amadorians have surmounted : 

" Washington, April 9, 1873. 
" Extraordinary professional and lobby interests 
are being organized and concentrated here by A. 
H. Eose, to bear upon the Secretary of the Interior 
in the important case of the Keystone Consolidated 
Mining Company, the Original Amador Mining Com- 
pany, Bunker Hill Quartz Company, and the town 
site of Amador, against the State of California. 
The purpose is to secure a reversal of the decision of 
the General Land Office, whereby to turn over to 
Eose and his associates property worth millions of 
dollars, for which the nominal sum of four hundred 
dollars was partly paid by Henry Casey, the alleged 
grantee from the State. The case involves extraor- 
dinary features, apparent frauds, as well as a princi- 
ple of the utmost importance to thousands of mine- 
owners and mines in controversy, situated on the 
Mother Lode of California, which have been worked 
since 1850. Eose sold, for one hundred and thirty 
thousand dollars, the Keystone mine, and he now 
seeks to recover it in the name of Casey. The town 
of Amador was founded in 1850, its site, and all 
the mines situated uj>on the east half-section of sec- 
tion thirty-six, township seven north, range ten 
east, Mt. Diablo meridian. In 1870 certain parties 
procured a United States survey of that township, 
and, it is alleged, induced the Deputy Surveyor, by 
fraudulent field notes, to represent the mines and 
town as located upon the west half of the section. 
This was to deceive occupants, so as to induce 
them to apply for the wrong tract, while the specu- 
lators could, without opposition, purchase from the 
State for four hundred dollars, and receive a patent 
for the tract on which these properties were actually 
located. The fraud was discovered and exposed by 
abundant proofs, demonstrating unquestionably the 
surveyor's infidelity, in returning as agricultural 
land the richest half-section of mineral land ever dis- 
covered. The patent not having been issued, thebona 
fide mining claimants and town authorities immedi- 
ately applied to the Land Department for patents 
under the mineral and town site laws, but the 
would-be purchasers from the State then boldly 
claimed that the School Land Act of March 3, 1853, 
was a grant en presente of both surveyed and unsur- 
veyed, and both mineral and agricultural, lands com- 
prised in the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections of 
every township, and consequently that the mineral 
lands in controversy situated in the thirty-sixth sec- 
tion, passed to the State immediately on the passage 
of the Act of 1853. To this it is replied that min- 
eral lands were excluded from the grants to the 
State; that the State title did not vest in any lands 
until surveyed, there being prior thereto no sections 
sixteen and thirty-six; the Act of 1853 provided that as 
to mineral lands only township lines should be run, 
which provision was not repealed until July 9, 187(1; 
that it was competent for Congress, before vested 
rights attached, to make a different appropriation of 
the lands; that before the survey Congress did, by 
the Act of July 26, 1866, make a different appro- 

priation of the mineral lands; that if this were not 
so, yet the particular tract in controversy was 
expressly excepted from the State grant by the 
seventh section of the Act of 1853, by reason of its 
settlement and the erection of dwelling-houses 
thereon prior to the survey. The local land officers 
and the Commission-General of the Land Office 
decided against the pretentions of the private claim- 
ants who use the State's_nanne, and the case is now 
pending on appeal before the Secretary of the In- 
terior. The danger grows out of the fact that the 
Supreme Court of the State of California, in the case 
of Sherman against Buck, decided that the Act of 
1853 did vest title to all sixteenth and thirty-sixth 
sections in the State prior to the survey. And 
although it is believed the court will grant a rehear 
ing and reverse that decision, its action, neverthe- 
less, lends color of support to the attempt now making 
to obtain possession of the Amador mines and estab- 
lishes a principle fraught with immense danger to 
thousands of other interests. Eose is here person- 
ally pressing the case, in addition to Wm. H. Patter- 
son and other well-known California lawyers and 
lobbyists to assist in its prosecution. It is probable 
dilatory tactics will be employed to postpone the decis- 
ion of this tainted claim until the Benjamin Snelling 
case from the Marysville district can be presented to 
the Secretary for a decision of the naked question of 
the right of the State to the sixteenth and thirty- 
sixth sections of mineral lands; so that if the. right of 
the State is affirmed, it will be comparatively easy to 
find a pretext for deciding Eose's case in his favor. 
The question has a vital importance to all mineral 
occupants on the sixteenth and thirty -sixth sections. 
If the mineral claimants in either the Keystone or 
Snelling cases are defeated, then all mines upon simi- 
larly numbered subdivisions, or which upon future 
survey may prove to be so numbered, are at the 
mercy of the first applicant to purchase from the 
State at one dollar and twenty-five cents an acre. It 
is represented here that the parties who are initiated 
in this speculation have already taken the requisite 
steps to file the first applications for all similar sec- 
tions throughout the State. The same dangers 
threaten mineral occupants in every other mineral 

" Washington, April 28, 1873. 
" The Secretary of the Interior to-day decided the 
very important and much contested cases of the Key- 
stone Mining Company et. al., vs. State of California, 
and of Benjamin Snelling vs. the State of California, 
both of which involved the question whether the 
grant to said State of sections sixteen and thirty 
six for school purposes by the Act of March 3, 1853, 
included said sections when they were on mineral 
lands. The Secretary held, first, that the title to 
said sections sixteen and thirty- six does not vest in 
the State until survey has been made, which brings 
into existence and locates said section, and that said 
mining companies, having appropriated said lands 
under the Act of July 26, 1866, prior to such sm'vey, 
they had the better right. Second, that the seventh 
section of the Act of 1853 excepts from the grant all 
of sections sixteen and thirty-six, on which there 
had been, prior to the survey, a settlement by the 
erection of a dwelling-house or the cultivation of any 
portion of the land, and that the settlement referred 
to was technically known as pre-emption settlement. 
Third, that the grant was not intended to include, 
and docs not include, said sections when they are on 
mineral lands. The decision was given against the 
State in both cases." 



Extraordinary reports are ourrent as to the means 
by which this fraudulent Burvey was accomplished. 
J. G. Mather was not in the field at the time, though 
his name was attached to the plot returned to the 
office. His deputies were Uri Nurse and Marcellus 
Nurse, father and son, the latter doing the work. 
Some say the survey was made by moonlight; others 
that a lantern was used, and some go so far as to 
name the persons who acted as chain and torch 
bearers in these midnight surveys. Young Nurse is 
reported as saying that he made fifteen thousand 
dollars during the season. Mather is made to bear 
the responsibility, and has not since been employed 
by the Government in any work, nor is he likely 
to be. 

The contest was finally terminated November 22, 

" In the case Ivanhoe Mining Company us. Key- 
stone Consolidated Company, the Supi'eme Court 
held that in the grant of the sixteenth and thirty- 
sixth sections of the public lands to the State of 
California for school purposes, the title to the mineral 
lands did not pass, for the reason that it was the 
established policy of the Government to withhold the 
mineral lands from sale, and that in this case the 
land in question, having been improved before the 
survey, it was exempt from sale by reason of section 
seven of such law." 

The owners of mines and houses on the famous 
thirty-sixth section may now rest, secure in the 
results of their industry. 


Sometimes called the Little Amador, is the mine on 
the north side of the creek, which was taken up by 
Thomas Rickey and son in February, 1851. This 
mine was about the first to pay dividends, J. T. 
Burke, still living in Amador, being the superintend- 
dent. In 1854, it passed into the hands of some 
Germans, who ran it until 1857, when it gradually 
failed, work being totally suspended in 1858. In the 
meantime it was sold to Haverstick and Leninger of 
lone, the latter soon becoming the sole owner, the 
mine at this time being valued at only two hundred 
and fifty dollars. J. T. Burke, the first superintend- 
dent, leased the mine from Leninger, giving him half 
the profits. His knowledge of the mine enabled him 
to pay Leninger the sum of eight thousand dollars 
forhis share of the profits. After the expiration of 
the lease, work was suspended until 1862, when J. T. 
Burke bought it for three thousand dollars, one-third 
down, balance in installments. The mine paid for a 
short time, but the rock failing, it went back to 
Leninger, who sold it to John C. Faul for a nominal 
price. The mine was developed under his manage- 
ment, the hoisting works and mill being rebuilt. 
The reputation of the mine was such that it 
was sold to an English company in 1870, for six 
hundred thousand dollars. It is not considered 
a paying property. Work is nearly suspended 
at present. Old miners think that a cross-cut 

to the west might strike a paying vein. The 
present works are near the hanging-wall. A shaft is 
now being sunk on the summit, near the Bunker 
Hill ground. The hoisting is done with a wire cable 
from the old hoisting works nearly a thousand feet 


This is one of the mines included in the famous 
thirty-sixth section, a portion of the ground being on 
the doubtful tract. Superintendent Palmer furnishes 
the following information about the mine: It was 
worked in 1851, by Sncdiker, Briggs, and others, mak- 
ing the quartz pay twenty dollars per ton, until the 
works were carried down some depth. It is now four 
hundred and fifty feet deep, with two veins of paying 
rock. The vein next to the hanging-wall is about 
five feet thick. The second one varies from one foot 
to thirty feet in thickness, and is what is called a 
chimney, dipping to the north about forty-five 
degrees. The hanging- wall is well defined and reg- 
ular; the foot-wall being somewhat broken. The 
general pitch is about twenty-eight degrees from a 
perpendicular. The two veins are about sixty feet 
apart, no gold being found in the slates between 
the veins. The sulphurets, constituting about three 
per cent, of the entire rock, are worth about eighty 
dollars per ton, this being about one-tenth of the 
entire product, which at these figures would be about 
twenty-five dollars per ton. The rock shows an 
improvement as a greater depth is reached. 

New hoisting works, mill and chlorination works 
are being erected, and a new shaft is being sunk. 
The mill is to have forty stamps run by water-power, 
and everything is to be substantial and first-class. 
The property is owned by a joint-stock company and 
bids fair to be highly remunerative. 

There are no mines of note for some distance north 
of the Bunker Hill; though several shafts have been 
sunk no valuable lodes were opened. 


This mine was worked by J. W. Pierson, of Oakland. 
Either bad management or other causes have given 
it an unenviable reputation. About a year since, 
fortunately while there was no one in the works, it 
caved in, the whole works collapsing. As the mine 
is being dismantled it is likely that it was not found 


This is an old mine with a varied experience, the 
balance generally being on the wrong side of the 
ledger. It has been worked to a depth of one thou- 
sand and thirty feet; has two veins, the one next the 
hanging-wall about seven feet thick containing the 
pay. The pitch is about forty -five degrees. The 
vein one hundred and thirty feet west is about four 
feet thick and does not contain much gold. A cross- 
cut at seven hundred feet showed no improvement in 
the west vein; at this depth the eastern or hanging- 



wall vein was good, averaging twelve dollars and a 
half per ton, but gradually became poorer as a greater 
depth was reached. The west vein was not tested 
below the seven-hundred-foot level. 

There is no appearance of a chimney in this mine, 
the vein maintaining about the same width on a run 
of seven hundred feet. This is a solitary case, every 
other paying vein being in the shape of a channel, 
chute, or chimney. The hoisting works and water- 
power mill (twenty stamp) are substantial and well 
arranged. The town, called New Chicago, built up 
on the strength of this and the adjoining mines, is 
distressingly quiet. There is a prospect (January 1, 
1881) of the Gover resuming work. 


This is, to some extent, a repetition of Murphy's 
ridge in the southern part of the county, the veins 
being irregular in location and very much so in their 
value. Immense sums have been taken out by the 
Italians, Austrians and Mexicans, who have been 
working this section for twenty years or more. There 
is a strong hanging-wall but no foot-wall except the 
ordinary slate. Sometimes the quartz shows in large 
chimneys of barren rock a hundred feet thick; at 
other times it ramifies into a thousand seams all 
containing gold. The hills have been sluiced, hydrau- 
liced, coyoted, and tunnelled and worked in every 
way conceivable, and still a great number of men 
make a living for their families, most of whom live 
in the hollows below the mine in a primitive style? 
with goats and children swarming over the hills. 
Efforts have been made to mine this scientifically, 
and long tunnels have been run under or down the 
hanging-wall, which has a slope of about forty-five 
degrees, but the Mexican with his crow-bar and 
bataya still holds the country. The gulches heading 
against this quartz reef were all rich, clear to the 
summit, and it was by following up these that the 
rich threads of quartz interlacing the hill were found. 


Twenty years ago this was a power in the land. It 
was immensely rich in places. It adjoins the Black 
hills on the north. The same rule as at the other 
mines in this cluster holds good, i. e., a strong hanging- 
wall. A mill and hoisting works were erected, and 
the results were such as to make a boom in quartz; a 
million of dollars seeking investment in the county 
in a short time. Some of these ventures have proved 
failures, others exceeded the most sanguine expecta- 
tions of the investors. The mine is owned by an 
English company, and at present is not paying 
dividends, but perseverance may uncover another 
bonanza which will repay them for all their toil. 


This mine was developed by the Hinksons of 
Drytown, and for many years was a source of profit, 
if not of fortunes. The wall rock on the east is 
here broken off, and for two miles, or until Plymouth 
is reached, the" veins are scattered, spreading in 

some instances to two thousand feet in width. Some 
mills have been erected, and though occasional runs 
have been made which were profitable, the mines 
in general proved a poor investment. Most of the 
veins are held by persons too poor to sink on them, 
the prospects not being good enough to induce cap- 
italists to invest. Some of the veins, with econom- 
ical management, may pay for working at the top, 
and thus pay for testing them. 


Although this is not usually considered on the 
range, or Mother Lode, it is most convenient to* 
consider it here. It is an immense body of quartz 
covering twenty acres or more of ground. It seems 
to be a vein, perhaps one hundred feet thick, and 
perhaps a thousand feet long, which, from its original 
inclination, has fallen over to the eastward, as much 
as twenty acres lying nearly flat, forming a promi- 
nent object for miles around. It early attracted the 
attention of quartz miners, and was examined and 
claimed in 1851, at the time of the first quartz 
excitement. The ravines in the immediate vicinity 
were not rich, although a three-hundred-dollar 
lump is said to have been found in the long gulch 
running from it towards the creek. It is rock of a 
peculiar character, being much purer, and more 
compact than the quartz of the Mother Lode. The 
bullion from it is of low value, being worth only ten 
or twelve dollars to the ounce, and very light, forty 
per cent, of it being silver, on which account it is 
hard to save. The quartz, notwithstanding its favor- 
able appearance, has not yet milled above two dol- 
lars per ton, and has proved a losing business to 
all persons engaged in it. The ore has been treated 
in every possible method, but the successful reduc- 
tion of it has not yet been accomplished. The sul- 
phurets are extremely rich, being worth five or six 
hundred dollars a ton. South of the Quartz mountain 
the country has been very rich in coarse gold. Some 
quartz veins crop out on the heads of Deep and 
Indian gulches, which have the same pitch to the 
west that characterizes the Quartz mountain, and 
are probably a part of the same formation. As 
Eancheria creek above the town contains little 
gold, and there is little indication of an ancient 
river bed in this vicinity, it is highly jyrobable that 
Deep and Indian gulches, as well as the flats around, 
were enriched by the system of quartz veins, to 
which Quartz mountain belongs. Mack Oulbert and 
sons are working a .vein on the hill above Indian 
gulch, with fair prospects of making it pay. It is 
likely that a thorough search will discover workable 
veins. Eeference was made to this mountain in the 
article on quartz veins. 


It is more convenient to consider them under one 
heading, although there are several incorporations, 
the management being by one set of men. The situa- 
tion of the mines will be understood by a diagram: — 



Empire < 'i 

Empire Mill Bite. 

Pacific Co., 1200 feet. 

I' >■ ili Mill Site. 

West Oaks Co. 

The Plymouth mine was discovered b} r Green 
Aden in 1853 or 1854. The mine, then called the 
Phoenix, was developed by the Hoopers, and was 
worked by them until 1871, when it passed into the 
hands of Hayward, D. O. Mills and Company. It 
was then worked under the superintendence of 
Charles Green, who developed it into its present 
profitable condition. The mine is singular in the 
fact that it is the site of a glacier erosion, which 
smoothed down every rock, however hard or soft, 
leaving none of the hard reefs so prominent in con- 
nection with other paying quartz veins. A reef of 
rocks across the lower end of the valley, west of 
Puckerville, formed the moraine or terminal line of 
the erosion. 

The ordinary hanging-wall is thought to be some 
six hundred feet to the east of the vein, but as a drift 
has been run only eighty feet in that direction, the 
hanging-wall may be much nearer than is supposed. 
The vein, which averages fifty-two feet in thickness, 
had a moderate slope towards the east, until it 
reached a depth of one thousand feet, when it sud- 
denly became much flatter, having a slope of about 
forty-five degrees. The richest quartz was found on 
this slope, there being a sudden increase in quality 
as well as quantity at this bend. A nother peculiarity 
of the mine is that the pay chimney runs towards 
the south. In this connection it may be well to 
speak of the lawsuit now pending for trespass and 
damage. Though Alvinza Hayward is a principal 
owner in both the Empire and Pacific, other stock- 
holders have interests in but one, and in working- 
down on the chimney, which runs into the Pacific, the 
Empire men received profits which accrued from the 
Pacific ground; hence a suit for two hundred and 
fifty thousand dollars damage. The Empire acknowl- 
edged a demand for eighty thousand dollars, but this 
did not satisfy the Pacifies. To complicate matters 
still more, the Merchants' Exchange Bank of San 
Francisco, through some business conrplications with 
Hayward, stepped in as an intervener, and the suit 
became a triangular duel. An army of lawyers and 
short-hand reporters was brought up from San 
Francisco and quartered around Jackson. Two 
thousand pages of testimony were taken to be used 
in the higher courts, for this was but the beginning 
or skirmishing line in the war. Those who have 
never read the account of the "triangular duel'' in 
Captain Maryatt's " Midshipman Easy," may get an 
idea of this suit by imagining a three-handed game 
of euchre, all parties playing against Hayward, who 
was bound to be euchred in any event, having the 
most of the cost lo pay. An award of seventy-one 
thousand dollars damage was made by Judge Moore, j 

before whom the case was tried, and the matter is 
still running through the courts. 

The chimney at the depth of twelve hundred feet 
has gone five hundred and ninety-two feet to the 
south, at which point hoisting works of the most 
substantial kind are being constructed, the shaft 
being square, with four compartments. The tall 
tower stands over the shaft, a prominent feature in 
the landscape. This elevation is to give room for 
waste rock that often accumulates to an inconven- 
ient degree around mining works. The eighty -stamp 
mill, the largest in the county, is run by water- 
power, the canal being a portion of the company's 
works. A large portion of the timber and lagging 
used, comes down the canal, which receives its sup- 
ply of water from the Cosumnes river. About four 
thousand tons of rock are crushed each month, yield- 
ing forty thousand dollars or upwards. 

Like other large mines, this consumes a great 
amount of material, the yearly demand being — 

3.500 cords of wood valued at $21,000 

7,000 pieces of round timber 21,000 

35,000 pieces of lagging 3,500 

In addition to this, half as much may be reckoned 
for dimension timbers for new works on the surface. 
The names of some one hundred and fifty men are 
on the pay-roll. 


North of the Plymouth group the mines have not 
been developed, though there are indications of 
extensive quartz deposits. Indian creek, which 
follows nearly the course of the quartz lodes, was 
quite rich, as were the side gulches putting into it. 
A few years since a town was started on the pros- 
pects of the Enterprise mine, which flourished for a 
time, but when the work was suspended the place 
shrunk away. The mines along this range seem full 
of water, the west or foot-wall (the west bank of 
Indian creek) having numerous springs, which may 
come from extensive mineral deposits on that side. 
A mineral lode has once been a water channel though 
subsequent erosions and cleavages may have changed 
its course. 


On the north side of the Cosumnes is the place 
called Nashville, formerly Quartzburg, which, though 
in El Dorado county, may be mentioned in connection 
with the Amador mines as being the extension and 
probable termination on the north, as the Gwin mine 
is on the south, of that remarkable deposit which 
we have endeavored to describe, called the Mother 
Lode in Amador county, as north of the Nashville 
group, and south of the Gwin mine, the quartz 
deposits are irregular and cannot "compare, in pro- 



ductiveness or regularity, with the mines between 
the two named points. This mine was worked at an 
earlier day than any of the Amador mines, as the 
mill was a model for some of them. The mine was 
developed by Dr. Harris of Nashville, Tennessee, who 
sunk for his company some forty thousand dollars. 
The first power used was steam, but afterwards a 
dam was thrown across the river at a cost of thirty 
thousand dollars, which was a needless expense, as 
a small canal a mile or two in length, has since been 
equal to the power gained by the dam. During the 
Summer of 1851 a man by the name of Eustice, from 
Missouri, discovered a rich vein near Nashville, 
which he allowed the Mexicans to work for a royalty, 
which was an arrangement that they should purchase 
their supplies of him, which condition they generally 
observed. The Mexicans worked the rock with 
arastras, with which they are experts, and made it 
pay much better than did the mill men who came 
after them. As many as thirty or forty of these 
might be seen -grinding at a time. Perhaps two 
hundred men, women, and children were congre- 
gated around the mine, which pinched out at a depth 
of about a hundred feet. The arrangement was 
mutually satisfactory and profitable, and Eustice car- 
ried away about sixteen thousand dollars for his 
share. The mines are not worked at present, and 
seem never to have been as rich and as extensive as the 
mines in Amador county. This closes the account of 
the great Mother Lode as it exists in Amador county. 
In the chapter on the formation of mineral veins, 
reference to the mines is occasionally made. 



Downs Mine — Marklee — Tellurium — Thayer — Clinton Mines — 
Mace Range of Mines — Pioneer and Golden Gate Mines — 
Quartz Veins West of the Mother Lode — Kirkendall — Soap- 
Stone or Steatite Mine — Quartz Mining in the Future — 
Put Monej in Thy Purse — School Cabinets — Copper Min- 
ing—General Craze — Country Formed into Districts— Funny 
Notices — New Towns — Result of the General Search — 
Chrome Iron — Failure of Meader— Remarkable Discovery — 
Present Condition of Copper Mining. — Newton Mine. 

No man who has made gold mining a subject for 
thought, ever doubted that the gold found in our 
gulches and rivers originally came from the quartz 
veins. When the news of the discovery of gold in 
the quartz at Sutter Creek and other places was 
learned, the belief that the quartz veins on the upper 
range of placers, which were not inferior in richness 
to the lower ones, became general.' Soldiers' gulch 
had several veins crossing it, and so had numerous 
other rich placers. Quartz boulders, with gold 
riveted through and through them, were sometimes 
found, as well as rough quartz, which did not appear 
to have been moved any great distance from the 
vein. Small veins were found with considerable 
gold in them, and in 1867 there were not less than 
one hundred stamps in operation within a few miles 

of Volcano, and nearly two hundred on the upper 
range. The following table will show that the upper 
veins were being fully tried: — 






Location in 




Amador county 

Name of Mill. 






Present Occupants. 

Amador Cit y . . . 






Middleton & Co. 

t< <* 

Bunker Hill.. 



s & w 


William A. Palmer. 

" " 






Gardner & Fleehart. 

" " 





6 000 

Gardner & Fleehart. 

" " . 






Gashwilder & Co. 

" " . 

Spring Hill . . . 



s & w 


Hooper & Co. 


Rocky Falls.. 





W. J. Paugh. 







E. T. Steen. 


Plymouth .... 



s & w 


Hooper & Co. 



18b < 




Creed& Wood. 




s & w 


Seaton M. Co. 


Itichmond . . . 





Eagon & Co. 






O. T. Meader. 







S. C. Fogus. 


Kearsings .... 





C. T. Meader. 







Tubbs & Co. 







James Morgan. 

Lower Randiccia 






Bruno & Co. 

Pine Grove 

Tellurium . . . 





Cushing, Ryder & Co. 


Loval League 





Hurst & Co. 

Sutter Creek . . . 






A. Hayward. 

" " 






R. C. Downs. ■ 

" " . 




s & w 


A. Hayward. 

" " 

Lincoln QM Co 




R. C. Downs, Supt. 

" " 






Mahoney Brothers. 

<C it 





C. T. Meader. 

" " 

Wildmana . . . 





C. T. Wheeler. 



IS ' 1 


s & w 


California Furnace Co 


l S b8 






IS 1 -'.' 




J. T. Farley. 


Golden Gate.. 

IS 1 -'-' 


s & w 


Hurd & Co. 







Rose & Co. 







Fogus & Co. 







Lawton & Co. 





s & w 


C. T. Meader. 






J. T. Farley. 

" . 






W. H. Thoss. 







Lawton & Co. 








Tullnch & Co. 





-it earn 


M. Tynan. 

It took twenty years of costly experience to learn 
quartz mining and the nature of quartz veins. There 
were these differences in the veins on the Mother 
Lode and in the other parts of the county; on the 
Mother Lode the veins generally had a north and 
south direction; on the others they ran in all direc- 
tions; though, often than otherwise, conforming in 
directions to the rifts of the slate, they turned appar- 
ently at every little obstruction and had no uniformity 
of direction, dip, or strike. There was a gouge or 
selvage beside the Mother Lode; scarcely any at all 
on the upper veins, many of the largest of the veins 
being encased in solid Avails, in fact, as the miners 
use to say, melted into it. Along the Mother Lode 
was a solid wall (frequently on both sides) which was 
continuous, and could readily be traced through the 
county; on the upper ranges the wall rock, or rock 
adjoining the quartz, would change its character 
every few feet, sometimes being a hard metamor- 
phosed flinty rock, at other places turning to steatite, 
or soft, earthy slate. Those of our readers who 
studied the Mother Lode, in its entirety, will remem- 
ber the functions of a firm wall rock and the 
importance of a gouge, one as holding the quartz 
deposit to its place, the other showing a deep fissure 
or a greater length of deposit. There is a probability 
that the aggregate amount of gold in the West Point 
system of veins, which also crosses Amador county, 
is greater than in the Mother Lode of the same 
length, and so of the other veins that traverse the 
eastern part of the county within a few miles of Vol- 

1 62 


cano. Tho great Bea thai deposited the rocks, 
didnol leave the material for a firm overlying bed, 
Tho corals, building up reefs, and modifying the 
influence of the ocean currents, perhaps, interfered 

with the deposit of a stratum as uniform in its char- 
acter as was done a lew miles farther "west. At any 
rate, when the mountains were lifted out of the sea 

the mass of rock overlying the gold-bearing strata 
opened in various directions, besides at the axis of 
elevation; hence the water holding gold and other 
minerals in solution found its way to the surface, 
sometimes through limestone, sometimes through 
granite or syenite, and sometimes through soft slate, 
the fissures following no direction long, nor extend- 
ing to great depths, as at the Mother Lode, though 
the conditions admit of exceptions. 

With these few general remarks the subject of 
their formation may be dismissed and a few of the 
mines noticed. 


Apparently conforms more nearly to a true fissure 
vein than any in the upper series yet found, though 
differing in its direction from veins on the Mother 
Lode. It has a gouge, a large amount of vein mat- 
ter or distinctly characterized rock, and firm walls, 
all of which conditions are favorable to permanence 
and depth. This mine was located as early as 1857 
by Phil. Scibenthaler, Geo. Felmath, and others. 
The rock on the surface was worked by arastras and 
paid from forty to one hundred dollars per ton. 
They then enlarged the works and put up a twenty- 
stamp mill. There was not rock enough avail- 
able to keep the mill running, and the company 
failed, work being suspended until 1866, when the 
whole property was bought by James M. Hanford 
for one hundred dollars. "Work was resumed, the 
quartz being hauled to the Fogus mill, two and a half 
miles below Yolcano, for reduction. The milling was 
badly done, saving only eight dollars and twenty -five 
cents per ton. A year later the shaft was sunk forty 
feet deeper. Two tons ground in an arastra paid 
twenty-six dollars per ton. This so encouraged the 
proprietor that sinking was continued still further. 
A swell was struck in the vein which now became 
four feet in thickness, though the body of the vein 
had no greater amount of gold than before, now pay- 
ing only twenty dollars per ton; but this was good 
rock. Fifteen feet deeper the vein contracted to its 
original width of two feet. The next crushing of 
rock, taken from below the swell at a depth of ninety 
feet, paid sixty-eight dollars per ton by the arastra 
process. It was also discovered that there were two 
continuous parallel veins within the two wall rocks, 
which were about thirty feet apart, though one of 
the veins was of much less value than the other. 
The narrow vein (the first one worked) is now pay- 
ing, by mill process, twenty-five to forty dollars per 
ton. The mill is run by water-power and all the 
appliances are calculated to work economically. All 
the circumstances point towards a permanent and 

profitable mine. The vein has an easterly and west- 
erly direction and can be distinctly traced some dis- 
tance- towards the west, showing good rock all the 
way. J. N. Peck & Co. own one extension under 
the name of the Golden Star, and Benjamin Ross 


This mine- is north of Yolcano and not far from 
Dry Creek. It was worked with profit for about two 
years. Many good runs were made on it. May 11, 
1872, sixteen days' run with twelve stamps netted 
thirteen thousand dollars. It was sold to an 
English company, who put some one in charge who 
was either unacquainted with quartz mining, or had 
a job on hand, as he drifted away from the pay 
chute, at least in the opinion of the workmen who 
seemed to be better acquainted with the nature of 
the quartz than the foreman. The mill and hoisting 
works were removed and the mine and improvements 
left to ruin. In the opinion of many the mine is still 


Is a few hundred feet east of Pine Grove. The 
quartz in this vein is in considerable quantity, form- 
ing a regular vein. It appears rather white and pure 
to contain much mineral, but is said to pay thirty or 
forty dollars per ton, which, however, is very doubt- 
ful. The name Tellurium seems to have been given 
rather as a fanciful title than because any of that 
mineral exists in the rock. As usual with mines 
owned in cities or out of the State, the management 
has been given to incompetent men, the working of 
the mine being experimental rather than practical. 


Was on the north side of Grass Yalley creek, and 
in 1859-60 was a promising vein. A man by the 
name of Thayer (from the city, of course) gave his 
name to it, and also demonstrated the inutility of 
new quartz machines, like many before and since, 
and probably many yet to come. His plan was an 
enlargement of the Chile wheel, which, in this 
instance, was made ten or twelve feet in diameter, 
shod with iron castings, and traveling in a circular 
gutter fifty or sixty feet in circumference, also lined 
with iron. The principle was correct enough, and 
has since been used with good effect with heavy cast- 
iron balls rolling in a cast-iron basin four or five feet 
in diameter; but in his case the castings worked 
loose, both in the track and on the circumference of 
the wheel, making a total wreck in the course of a 
few days. The machinery was sold for old iron, and 
work suspended for some years. Some miners 
jumped the claim and opened a paying vein, at least 
for a time. The surface of the vein, or a sheet of it, 
perhaps twenty feet wide, was found flat on the 
ground, having apparently fallen over. A hundred 
tons of this rock, crushed at the Fogus Mill, paid 
about thirty-four dollars per ton. An attachment 
was laid on the money by three lawyers from Mokel- 



umne Hill, all of whom were dignified as Judges. 
An expensive lawsuit followed. Surveyors were 
sent to map the ground, experts to theorize on the 
probabilities of the existence of a vein, and, in fact, 
the whole legal mining machinery which had been 
introduced into Comstock mining litigation, was 
brought into play on the real discoverei*s of the pay- 
ing vein. They had to yield. The mine is now 
nearly forgotten. 


Were once considered good, but are not worked at 
present. These belong to the Pine Grove range, 
and, like them, have a short run in length as well as 


Has the north and south trend following the rifts 
of the slate. Though rich on the surface, they 
pinch out at a short depth, 'and are not true fissure 
veins. It would seem possible that these veins are 
produced by surface action, that is, by the precipita- 
tion of minerals held in solution, by water flowing 
over the surface, as the veins seem to have no con- 
nection with a gold-bearing strata, like the veins on 
the Mother Lode. 

A good vein of ore in this vicinity may yield three 
or four thousand dollars before it pinches out. The 
milling is done by a custom mill at five dollars per 
ton, owned by F. Mace. 

Though these veins have a family resemblance, 
they differ much in character in the course of a few 
miles, sometimes being clear, hard, and blue in text- 
ure and color, and then shading into syenite sand- 
stone or hornblende. In some, the gold, though pay- 
ing well for milling, is so fine as to be almost 
impalpable. In this case, the breaking down of a 
vein by glacial or other erosion would not make rich 

It may be observed of the country generally, that 
quartz boulders of any size usually indicate the 
proximity of a quartz vein of similar character, pi-ov- 
ing that the streams or rivers forming the beds of 
gravel, were small. This, however, does not apply 
to the great east and west river, which had its chan- 
nel on the divide between Dry creek and Sutter creek, 
which escaped the great glacial erosion. A river 
which could sweep millions of tons of volcanic boul- 
ders down the slope of the mountains, could and did, 
sweep along boulders of quartz three feet in diameter. 
Such a boulder was found in 1857, on Union flat, 
above any bed rock. It was of clear, blue quartz, 
without any admixture of iron, and had several 
hundred dollars in pure gold in a kind of stratum 
on one side, the other side being barren. The rock 
bore a great resemblance to that of the Sheep 
Ranch mine in Calaveras county, said to be one of 
the best paying mines in the State. 


Between the Mace, or West Point range, and Vol- 
cano, are veins of a very distinct character. They 

are narrow but well defined, going straight down, 
neither widening or pinching out. Of this character 
are the veins named at the head of this paragraph. 
The veins do not follow the trend of the country rock, 
but seem to be rather in a transverse fissm*e. They 
are from sixteen inches to two feet in width, paying 
from twenty to forty dollars a ton. The mine owned 
by W. Q. Mason, is of this group. The vein varies 
from three to nine inches in width, averaging about 
thirty-five dollars per ton, though in places the 
rock is quite rich, paying several dollars to the 
pound. This range of mines has not been sufficiently 
explored to determine the value of them. 


These are numerous, and some of them quite 
large, being in some instances thirty or forty feet 
thick, as at Dr. Randall's ranch near lone, and at 
Mrs. Nichol's ranch, in Jackson valley. The lower 
range is quite as extensive as the Mother Lode, and 
in the rich gulches and placers adjoining, bears evi- 
dence of having considerable gold. In the vicinity 
of French Camp, some of the small veins are said 
to have gold enough to pay for crushing, but as they 
do not hold their size, but ramify into numerous 
branches, they are not likely to be extensively 
worked. The Kirkendall range near Irish hill, was 
thought to be rich, but work on it is generally sus- 

In the vicinity of Stony creek the quartz seems 
to be auriferous, but here, as at French Camp, the 
veins are neither permanent nor well defined. It 
would seem that in all this western range of quartz 
veins, copper, not gold seems to be the predominat- 
ing mineral. 


These mines are some miles east of the lower 
range of quartz veins, and seem to be connected 
rather with the serpentine or green ledge formation. 
There is considerable doubt in the minds of many 
who have not examined the locality, as to the pres- 
ence of gold in steatite; but the fact that all the 
gulches running from the locality were rich, ought 
to set all doubts to rest. Attention was called to 
these places twenty years since, by specimens of 
the steatite with gold, like bronze, well-distributed 
through it. There was some coarse gold found occa- 
sionally. Major Barting, who did the most to test 
these veins, found a piece in this vein thirty feet 
from the surface, which weighed some sixty grains 
or more. 

It is claimed that the rock contains twenty or 
thirty dollars to the ton; but all attempts to save it 
have been failures, the gold being so fine as to float 
off on the top of the water. 


Much money has been expended in quartz that 
has not been returned. A few have become wealthy, 
others have made a living, and many have worn 



themselves <>iit in the unsuccessful search for gold. 
The fact that gold, which made the placers, was 
originally derived from quartz, and that many of tin- 
veins are still rich, will induce the examination of the 

last one where I here is any probability, Or even possi- 
bility, of finding it. Gold! what a magic in the 
word! What a spell it will work. For gold, man will 
dare the depths of the earth, the heights of the 
mountains, the heal of the tropics, and the ice regions 
of the pole, the solitude of the plains and the crowds 
in cities. 

Those who preach moderation in seeking it are the 
first to sniff a strike, and the fiercest to strive for its 
possession. Until human nature is changed, the gold 
hunt will continue. 


"Make itthy soul'sdelightto gather coin. Suffernot 
thy thoughts to stray from this purpose. Make cor- 
ners in bread, so that the poor shall go hungry. 
What is it to thee that hundreds suffer? Make cor- 
ners in water, though the great Father poured it out 
without stint for all his children. Fence it up ; 
gather it into reservoirs and make the thirst as well 
the hunger of the people fill thy purse. What were 
hunger and thirst made for but to help thee put 
money in thy purse ? Watch the progress of industry, 
and bu}- up the land that lies in its coui'se. Hold 
it for high prices ; hold it until the homeless and 
landless must have it at any price. What is it to 
thee that industries are paralyzed? Put money in 
thy purse. 

" Thy brother may be fainting by the wayside, 
crushed by misfortune and sickness. Heed not his 
cry of agony. Shut all avenues of the heart to the 
cries of suffering humanity. What is the world to 
thee ? Put money in thy purse. 

" The world is full of beauty. Every little flower 
that opens its petals to drink in the sunshine, is full 
of marvelous, self-acting machinery. Heed it not. 
Turn not aside from thy great work. The rocks of 
the earth, all the elements, tell a wondrous story of 
the creation, extending through myriads of ages, of 
changes from chaos to order; from darkness to light 
and life; of alternating ages of torrid heat and icy 
solitude. The stars spangling the infinite blue deep, 
tell a marvelous tale of the extent of God's works, 
and suggest the possibility of a future greatness of 
the soul ; of a wandering at will through endless 
beauty — wondei'ing, admiring, and learning. Leave 
such things to fools; they are nothing to thee. Put 
money in thy purse. 

" Work for money with all thy might, mind, and 
soul, and it shall flow to thee, as the water floweth 
to the sea, in streams ever widening and deepening, 
gathering strength as it comes. Thou shalt own 
broad acres in the hearts of cities, and principalities 
in the country. Thy flocks shall cover a thousand 
hills, and thy bank accounts increase by da}' and hy 
night. Though in the pursuit of wealth thy fea- 
tures become the incarnation of all that is vile, a 
record of years of sin, at thy approach with the 
golden key the doors of palatial residences will fly 
open; obsequious servants will conduct thee to the 
innermost shrine; melodious voices wiil sing for thee 
the sweetest songs; gray-haired wisdom will lend 
thee its aid, and youth and beauty will come to thy 
arms. Thou mayest ride rough-shod over the people, 
for hast thou not the where with? 

■ lint know. O mortal! that thy millions cannot 
purchase one atom of love or respect; that the poor- 
est sewing girl in the city, or the dirtiest dustman, 
is richer than thou art, lor some one may have for 
them a tender thought; but thou shalt be abhorred 
of all. When sorrow comet h to thee, no heart will 
beat in sympathy, no tears will mingle with thine. 
Every man's hand will be against thee, as thine has 
been against mankind. Every dollar of thy millions 
will be a demon to gnaw thy withered, shrunken 
soul. Thy heart shall be like a desert land, without 
green thing, fountain, or shade. The harpies of the 
law shall quarrel over thy ill-gotten wealth, as the 
wild dogs and wolves over the fallen bison of the 
plains, and thou shalt have lived in vain, for what 
doth thy wealth profit?" 

Gold mining and the pursuit of wealth will go on 
nevertheless, and may be regulated, but not pro- 


Cabinets of elegant curiosities abound everywhere, 
but, notwithstanding, there is a great deal of con- 
fusion regarding the names of the commonest rocks. 
The metamorphic slates, constituting the wall rocks 
of the quartz veins, are generally called granite, 
than which nothing is more different. A collection 
of a hundred common rocks, properly labelled and 
cased, at the school-houses, would cost but little and 
would soon have a perceptible effect in remedying 
the confusion. 


Copper, in quantity, was first discovered in Cala- 
veras county, at the place afterwards called Copper- 
opolis, by W. K. Eeed, July 4, 1861. The outcrop, 
along where the Union and Keystone mines were 
located, was very marked, and large quantities of 
oxidized ores were taken out near the surface, as well 
as fine specimens of native copper, some of which 
were arborescent or crystallized in form. There were 
also lar-ge quantities of impure oxide of copper (cop- 
per smut) mixed more or less with red oxide. These 
ores were all shipped to Swansea, England, for reduc- 
tion, and the profits were such that fortunes of half 
a million were made in a little time. It is said that 
the Union mine opened the largest body of ore ever 
discovered in the world, the shipments from it being 
made on an immense scale. The run of ore was 
three hundred and fifty feet long, and from four to 
nine thick at the upper level; twenty-one feet at 
the depth of two hundred, and thirty-one feet at the 
depth of two hundred and fifty feet, all of No. 1 and 
No. 2 ores. Other mines in the vicinity were also 
rich. The shipments from Stockton of the Copper- 
opolis ores, netted in 1863 six hundred thousand 
dollars; in 1864 over one million dollars. For the 
first year or two little attention was paid to cop- 
per in other places, but the rapid development of the 
mines, and shipment of ores with profitable returns, 
soon set hundreds to tracing out the copper forma- 
tion. The gossan or calico rock, so named from the 
spotted appearance caused by patches of iron rust, 
was found in a thousand places, and on uncovering 

-__ ___ — 


Residence and Livery Stable df PETER FAGAN, 
Sutter Creek, Amador C° Cal. 

Lirt.BfiirroH bKsr.S.r 




the l'ock, mundic or sulphuret of iron was generally 
found a few feet from the surface with a little copper 
also. Considerable veins were found at Lancha 
Plana and Campo Seco, especially at the latter place. 
Several companies were organized and the shipping 
of ore commenced. In 1862 Dr. Newton, near lone, 
commenced sinking for copper on general principles 
rather than any practical knowledge of the ores or 
croppings; but the following Summer, 1863, he struck 
a vein of shipping ore, and the excitement in Amador 
county commenced. It was found that the calico, 
or gossan rock, was common over a tract of country 
eight or ten miles wide, east and west, and extend- 
ing from the Mokelumne to the Cosumnes rivers. 


Within four months, or by the first of October, at 
least one thousand men were at work sinking on 
every discoloration of rock that could be found. At 
first some attention was paid to the range, but soon 
the veins were found everywhere, though not in 
sufficient quantity to be of any commercial value. 
A vein of four inches of black oxide of copper was 
discovered on the top of Bald hill, near Buena Vista, 
and shares were soon selling at the rate of two hun- 
dred thousand dollars for the prospect. This claim 
or mine was known by the name of Bull Run. The 
Star of the TV est, not far away, also went up to a 
fabulous price. Quite a town, Copper Centre, sprang 
up in the vicinity and many more sites were staked 
out. The lone City company struck a vein of a few 
inches in thickness near Stony creek, and shares 
were immediately held at two thousand five hundred 
dollars per hundred feet. Shares in an adjoining 
claim without the color of cojiper were worth two 
hundred dollars. Copper could be melted out of the 
ores of many of the veins with a common black- 
smith's forge. This was the case with a vein an inch 
or two in thickness near Sutter creek (name of the 
mine forgotten), and forthwith each hundred of the 
two thousand feet was worth one thousand dollars. 
Many of the companies incorporated with a capital 
stock of one hundred thousand to one million dollars, 
and opened offices, hired secretaries at salaries from 
fifty to one hundred dollars per month, issued hand- 
somely printed certificates of stock, and did 
everything that Washoe companies did. Large 
handsome signs such as, Office lone City Copper Min- 
ing Company; Office Chaparral Copper Mining 
Company, indicated the " Copper on the brain " 
which was afflicting almost every one. 


The country was all districted off, recorders 
elected, and laws passed, which were recognized in 
the courts as valid and binding. The fees for 
recording a location were usually one dollar, with 
an additional twenty-five cents for each name 
attached to the notice. Some of the recorders would 
make one hundred dollars a month at this alone. 
Placer mining was nearly suspended in the hunt for 

copper. Not less than three hundred companies 
were doing constant work between the northern 
and southern boundaries of the county, besides 
others who were doing enough to hold the ground. 
Tunnels hundreds of feet long were run in the hard 
metamorphic slates, just to strike the supposed range. 
The serpentine range had a green color, and was 
thought by many to be copper ore. "Uncle Thomas 
Rickey " formed a company of two hundred or more, 
to run a tunnel into this, near Poe's ranch. " It would 
only cost a dollar to get in, and if they struck any- 
thing there would be enough for all." This tunnel 
was run something over two hundred feet. Fifty 
companies were sinking near Horse creek, one hun- 
dred near Forest home, fifty or more in the vicinity 
of lone, as many more near Jackson and Stony 
creeks; in fact, it was hard to find a hill which was 
not claimed, with a little work done to hold the 
ground. Some of the notices were amusing enough. 


Hon. W. A. Ludlow, now of Oakland, is authority 
for the following: — 

" tack Notes thee unter singd clant two Huntent 
foot Sought on thes Loat from thee mans Neten 

Febuary 12 1863 

Clamte sought ter Pint three" 

"Nota Bean Is here By given notes ter unter 
signed clame too cooben clames of too Hunter feet 
square sought Nort too 200 Hunter feet 


No 5 
AmTore country feb 12 63 " 

" Take Notes the untersiGent chlames North 400 
foot to a mains neeten Bush for Preubens of Mining 

Febuary 12 one thousand 800 63 " 

Lest people should think this style was owing to 
the absence of the school-master, the following notice 
for the sale of property in Berkeley, in the shadow 
of the University, is appended: — 

; "FerrSall Tur Mes Ezi." ; 

Selling claims or shares was a profitable business, 
and stock gambling came near being established. 
Almost every person had his pockets full of rocks, 
and wanted to sell shares. 

The finest and best arranged collection of ores and 
croppings was collected by Judge Carter, of lone. 
Some twenty or thirty of the leading mines were 
fully represented, cropping and ores being arranged 
in the natural order from the top down. It should 
have been preserved for the use of schools. 


Forest Home, Mineral Cit}*, and several other 
towns sprang up in the northern part of the county, 
where the excitement was greater, if possible, than 
in any other part. The One Hundred and One, or 



Goswm/nea Company, shipped considerable ore, as did 
several olber companies. The McNealy Company 
i Arroyo Seco Copper Company), near Muletownj ulso 
shipped several hundred tons of ore. C. T. Meader, 
of Stockton, became the copper king of the Stale, 
buying into man}- promising locations, the Newton 
mine among others. This was extensively oper- 
ated, and numbers of teams loaded every day for the 


A thousand shafts were sunk, many of them strik- 
ing copper in small quantities. The serpentine range, 
spoken of in the chapter on geology as an axis of 
elevation, seemed to be the center of the copper 
belt. The deposits on the eastern side were gener- 
ally in bunches of a few tons, capped with iron ore. 
At one point, between Stony and Jackson creeks 
twenty-three of these chimneys could be seen within 
a space of half a mile squai*e. Around the Mountain 
Spring House the " mineral caps" were equally notice- 
able before they were removed for grading the turn- 
piked road. This section of the country is well 
worth the attention of mineralogists for its indica- 
tions of other minerals than copper. Some of the 
shafts near the serpentine struck asbestos in consider- 
able quantities, Avhich is likely to be valuable. 


Was also found in quantity in several places, one 
vein, now claimed by the Westfall brothers, being 
nearly three feet thick. Twenty years since, this ore 
was worth sixty dollars per ton, but since the dis- 
covery of large quantities of it in Sonoma and other 
places, it is worth only the cost of mining it. 

In the Autumn of 1863, some five or six companies 
were shipping ore, and a hundred more were expect- 
ing to do so soon, but the whole thing collapsed in a 
few months, leaving the million of dollars or more, 
which had been expended in the search, a total loss. 


The first intimation of the coming panic was the 
failure of C. T. Meader, the copper king. He had 
not only bought into copper mines, but into quartz 
mines as well. The Coney mine had passed into his 
possession, and he had engaged extensively in ship- 
ping under the name of " Meader, Loler & Co." 

When his failure came, it involved the mines in 
which he was engaged in litigation, which had the 
effect of tying them up for several years. Among 
the causes mentioned was the depreciation of copper, 
which went down, in the course of two years, from 
twenty-eight to fourteen cents a pound. It was said 
at the time that this depreciation was the result of 
a conspiracy on the part of the Swansea Companies, 
to break down the mining of copper in California; 
but the reports of the discoveries, not only in Ama- 
dor and Calaveras, but all over the State as well, 
would be likely to affect the market. In Nevada 
county the Well claim was said to be inexhaustible, 
having a body of ore two hundred feet in width. 

In Arizona there were, as it was said, miles of dykes 
of ore standing in sight on the top of the ground. 
The mines of Lake Superior were also pouring into 
the trade a marvelous quantity of copper, so that 
it was hardly necessary to suppose a conspiracy. 

Pour years afterwards, .Meader, in accounting for 
his failure, said that his copper stocks had depre 
ciated in value two million two hundred and forty 
thousand dollars, and that his total indebtedness 
was one million two hundred and ninety thousand 
dollars. The extreme depreciation continued for sev- 
eral years, totally suspending copper mining, many 
of the claims being abandoned, and all being allowed 
to fill up with water. From this latter circumstance 
came the discovery of a cheaper method of i-educing 
the ores. 

At the time work was suspended many of the 
tools were left in the mines. When the, water was 
pumped out three or four years afterwards, a 


Was made. Every piece of iron or steel left in the 
ground had been decomposed, and around it was an 
oxide of copper, with a brown luster, which would 
assay ninety -five per cent, copper. Shovels, hammers, 
drills, iron bai'S, car wheels, and spikes used in fast- 
ening timber, were solid copper, bearing some resem- 
blance to the original articles. The steel drills were ir- 
regular tubes, the hollow part retaining the shape of 
theiron. This was a discovery. Instead of having to 
sbip the ores to Swansea at an enormous expense, 
they could be leached; that is, after the exposure of 
the ores to the air they decomposed, and became 
converted into sulphate of copper (blue stone of 
commerce) which was soluble in water. The water, 
beino- run into large vats, was brought into contact 
with scrap-iron, which could be bought for a trifle; 
the iron had a stronger affinity for the sul- 
phur, and the copper was precipitated in the form of 
a brown powder, which was nearly pure copper. 
By this method very poor ores can be worked with a 
profit. It must be said, however, that not all the 
copper ores can be worked in this manner. The 
number of veins containing workable ore, is, per- 
haps, hundreds, possibly thousands. Though no 
colossal fortunes will be made, yet they are likely in 
the future to give profitable employment to a great 
number of men. 


The Newton lead, owned by a Boston company, is 
the only one that is extensively worked. This was 
the first to make use of the process of leaching and 
precipitation. Under the able management of Ed- 
ward Johnson, the mine has not only been put on a 
paying basis, but the way shown to utilize the 
small bodies of copper ores which abound on the 
east side of the serpentine ledge, as well as the 
larger ones on the west side. The works now cover 
several acres of ground. The vats, piles of scrap-iron — 
which now come near to the mine by rail — the piles 



of ore, through which the water is slowly soaking, 
and the hoisting works, all serve to make a business 

The main shaft is four hundred and thirty feet 
deep, from which four levels have been run each way 
about two hundred feet, exposing large bodies of 
double sulphurets of copper and iron. These levels 
are all connected by winzes with the air shaft. Some 
of the higher grades of ore are sent to Swansea for 
reduction, but the larger part are reduced on the 
ground. About forty men are employed about the 

Eeduction by leaching is also in use, to some ex- 
tent, in the mines near Forest Home. Copper mining- 
is a promising element in the prospects of the county. 


Capture of the County Seat — Killing of Colonel Collyer — Loss of 
the County Seat — Bull Fight and Election — Mines — First 
School — Improvements in 1854 — Hanging Tree — Griswold 
Murder— Great Freshet 1861— Great Fire 1862— Flood and 
Loss of Life 1S78 — Big Frolic — Celebration of Admission Day 
— Mokelamne River — Murphy's Gulch — Hunt's Gulch — 
Tunnel Hill — Butte Basin — Butte Mountain — Butte City — 
Marriage in High Life— The Gate— Ohio Hill— Slab City- 
Clinton — Spaulding's Invention. 

During the Summer of 1848 this was a stopping 
place for persons traveling between Drytown and 
Mokelumne river, though some mining was done 
with batayas by the Mexicans, at the spring near the 
National Hotel. The number of bottles left around 
the spring by travelers, gave it the name of Bottil- 
leas. until it was changed to Jackson, in honor of 
Colonel Jackson, who afterwards settled there. It 
does not appear that any number of men wintered 
here in 1848, though some of Stevenson's soldiers 
wintered at Mokelumne Hill. The first permanent 
white resident of which any account can be found is 
Louis Tellier, who still resides on the first location. 
When Jim Martin and his company of eight passed 
through Jackson, or rather where it was not, there 
was a Mexican cart standing near the spring. Louis 
Tellier's first house was a log cabin covered with raw- 
hides; he also had a large army tent which had been 
used in Mexico. In early days freight to Sacramento 
was as high as one thousand dollars per ton. In 1850 
it was reduced to two hundred dollars per ton. To 
Volcano from Sacramento it was two hundred and 
fifty dollars. There were no bridges, and, even in 
Summer-time, both men and animals were sometimes 
drowned. Lumber was worth three dollars per foot, 
the floor of a small room costing six hundred to one 
thousand dollars. The roads were mere Indian 
trails, which were, in many instances, too narrow to 
let wagons through. 

There were two roads to Sacramento; one by 
way of Eancheria and Drytown, the other by way 
of Buena Vista. Louis Tellier caused the latter 
trail to be cut wide enough for a wagon, at his own 

expense. The trail nearly followed the road towards 
Lancha Plana to Stony creek, thence to the right 
over the Blue ridge. During the Summer, Mr. 
Hough, Mrs. Hough and her sister, came to the 
town, these two being the first white women in 
the tOAvn. Mrs. Hough is now living in Diamond 
Springs, the second is living in Jackson, the widow 
of McDowell, the first Justice of the Peace in Jack- 
son. The union of Miss Hough and McDowell, was 
the first wedding. Mrs. Silas Penry is the daughter 
by that marriage. Charles Boynton built the " Astor 
House," and also a bowling saloon. History does 
not give us many particulars regarding the archi- 
tectural merits of the " Astor House," nor as to the 
architect who planned it. It was equal to any build- 
ing in the city, however, though it was built of logs, 
and daubed with mud. There was a cabin near 
where E. W. Palmer's house now stands; also one 
on the site of his stable, occupied by John Papac, 
a Chileno. Towards the Gate was a cabin, with the 
sign, " brandy and sugar," hence called the Brandy 
and Sugar Hotel, kept by a man by the name of 
Kelley. He also sold bread and butter; a slice off 
a loaf baked in a Dutch oven, was sold for one dollar; 
if buttered, two dollars. He charged one dollar 
per. night for room to spread the blankets on the 
ground floor. 

A Dr. Elliot had a tent near the site of the Central 
House where he sold goods. During the Autumn an 
emigrant sold his tent for six dollars; the rains com- 
ing on soon after, he paid one dollar a night for the 
privilege of sleeping under it. Evans came in March, 
1850, with some beef, slaughtered on the Cosumnes, 
packed on some animals. He hung his meat on a 
pole resting on two forked posts, and soon sold out 
and went after more. His business flourishing, he 
soon after opened a store at Secreto (near Clinton) 
another at Butte, and a larger one at Jackson, near 
the site of the National Hotel. His store was of 
logs, and, not being well chinked, he filled up the 
holes with hams, the shank bones sticking out all 
around. He soon associated with him D. C. White 
(who afterwards put up the soda works), and A. 
Askey, the latter having remained with him since. 

Duncan & Gage (who afterwards kept a Chinese 
Bazar at San Francisco), Levinsky, Sloan, Stevens, 
Steckler, Captain Dunham, and others, came soon 
after Evans. Levinsky had a large store for many 
years, as also did Steckler. Stevens run the Young- 
America saloon; Sloan afterwards lighted Jackson 
with Aubin gas. Captain Dunham kept a meat mar- 
ket near the hanging tree. There were also the two 
Doctor Shields (called the big doctor and the little 
doctor), one, it is not certain which, having a wife. 

In August, 1850, there were but seven buildings 
in the town, some of which were empty. These 
were Louis Tellier's, White & Evans', Henry and Fred- 
erich Beeves' (on the hill near Butterfield's), one 
where Kent now lives, occupied by Mr. Hough and 
family, one at Palmer's house, and also one near his 



stable and the Brandy and Sugar Eotel. Dan Wor- 
ley, now living near Drytown, visiting Jackson one 
day, thooghl to gel a clean Bquare meal cooked by 
a woman, bul excepl for the aame of the thing 

would as .soon have eaten in bis own cabin. Iiill of 
fare: Fried steak, bread, and black coffee, $1.00, 
with. ■ II' yon don't like it stay away." 


This was do less than the capture of the county 
scat. This brilliant exploit seemed to have had its 
origin in the fertile brain of Charles Boynton. When 
Calaveras county was organized, Double Springs 
somehow obtained the county scat. It had but one 
house, which answered for Court House, saloon, 
store, and hotel. The place had not grown as was 
expected. The county seat, metaphorically speak- 
ing, was reaching out its arms for a more suitable 
home; and Jackson, with its less than a dozen houses, 
was willing to receive it, and nurse it to greater 
strength. Elections and Acts of the Legislature, 
means usually invoked in such matters, were set 
aside as involving too much time, altogether too 
slow for the lively town of Jackson. One morning, 
while Double Springs was resting quietly on its 
dignity as a shire town, the enemy appeared, smil- 
ing as usual. They (Charles Bojmton and Theo. 
Mudge) walked up to the county seat's bar, and 
throwing down the coin, according to the custom 
of the country, invited all hands to imbibe. The 
population of the town, or at least the larger part, 
responded with alacrity, the larger part being Col- 
onel Collyer, a rather pompous, portly Virginia gen- 
tleman, fond of telling good stories, and fonder still 
of good liquor, never refusing the opportunity for 
either. While one detachment of the enemy art- 
fully engaged the attention of Colonel Collyer, who 
was county clerk, and in that capacity custodian of 
the archives, another detachment at the other end 
of the room gathered the archives under his arm, 
tumbled them into a buggy, and ran away with 
them to Jackson. When the Colonel found the 
county seat had vanished, he raised his portly form 
an inch or two higher, swung his cane furiously 
around his head, and swore that the army should 
be called out to vindicate the dignity of the court. 

A shake shanty, at the foot of Court street, had 
been prepared for the bantling, and, on the arrival 
of Boynton and Mudge at Jackson, the archives 
were desposited with the proper ceremonies, the 
liquors being remarkably fine; and Jackson became 
the center of government for the great territory of 
Calaveras, which extended from Sacramento to the 
Rocky Mountains. Judge Smith, the County Judge, 
seemed to be on hand, ready to administer justice; 
in fact, he was suspected of having connived at the 
abduction, which act, it is said, was in part the 
cause of the tragedy occurring soon after. The 
County Clerk was induced to take his place, and 
issue the proper papers, dated at Jackson, for the 
convening of a court. 


A l the election for county officers, held soon aftei 
tip' removal of the county seat, Joe Douglass, can- 
didate I'm- the clerkship against Colonel Collyer 
received the larger number of votes. The Colone 
locked up the returns in his desk, in order to hold 
the office until Ins successor was qualified, which 
could not well be done without the counting of the 
votes, with his official signature to the result. Judge 
Smith broke open the desk in the absence of the Col- 
onel, counted the returns, and issued the certifier 
of election to the successful candidates, Joe Doug- 
lass among the rest. This put a new face on the 
affair. The feud, occasioned by the removal of the 
county records, now grew into an open war. 
Threats to shoot Judge Smith on sight induced him 
to arm himself, and when they met, near the foot 
of the present Court street, Smith commenced firing, 
hitting Collyer, who does not seem to have been 
armed, two or three times. The shots were fatal, 
and Collyer fell at the foot of a large oak tree grow- 
ing there, and shortly after expired. Smith was not 
tried for the homicide, but public indignation was so 
strong that he resigned. It is said, however, that as 
Smith was a Northern man and Collyer a Southern 
man, the people took sides accordingly in approving 
or condemning, and thus foreshadowed the great 
contest of ten years later. 

The few residents of Jackson got up a celebration 
of the Fourth. McDonnell was the orator, and com- 
pared the Constitution to a " crystal palace with its 
pedestal towering to the skies." 


In the Fall a great immigration came in, and by 
the 1st of December, Jackson had in the neighborhood 
of a hundred houses. Harnett, who afterwards 
lived in lone valley, built and kept a restaurant near 
the Astor House. Henry Mann and John Burke 
also had a restaurant, near the tree afterwards 
famous as the "hanging-tree." It was in this house 
that the Indian, Coyote Joe, was tried for killing the 
blacksmith near the Gate. The wife of Helmer Tur- 
ner, present Deputy County Clerk, is a daughter of 
Henry Mann; a son is junior partner of the firm, 
Hutchinson, Mann & Co., engaged in insurance in 
San Francisco. Mr. Mann lost his life in a singular 
manner. A tame bear was kept tied to the famous 
tree near Mann's restaurant. One day he had been 
moved to a lot where some shoats were kept, which 
his bearship commenced killing. Mr. Mann, in try- 
ing to return the animal to the tree, angered the 
bear, which gave him a hug that proved fatal in two 
or three days. Mrs. Mann afterwards married W. 
L. McKimm, the wedding taking place on the top of 
Butte mountain. 

Streeter and family, wdao afterwards lived on Dry 
creek, resided here during the Winter of 1850-51. 
Sheldon Streeter was the first white child born in 

Residence and Ranch df 320Acres JEFFERSON BA1RD. 
3 Miles N.E.erdm Plymouth, Amador Cg Cal . 

Residence and LumberYard df E.S.POTTER. 
Plymouth, Amador C° Cal. 

0fH7-7-Of>/ %f*£T 9. 



Medical attendance was expensive in those days, 

physicians charging enormous fees. The following 

fee bill was posted up in a doctor's office: — 

For one visit with medicine $ 16 00 

Reducing a fractured limb §50 00 to 100 00 

Parturition 100 00 

The following story on medical charges is on the 

said so of Tom Springer of the Ledger: — 

" Doctor Marsh, who was murdered in Contra Costa 
county about 1856, was formerly owner of a ranch 
in this county. Being called upon in a professional 
capacity to visit a sick child, he got the mother to 
wash a shirt for him. 

" On leaving he made out a bill for services amount- 
ing to fifty cows — the exact number of the woman's 
herd of cattle. She acknowledged the debt, but at 
the same time made out a bill to the same amount 
for washing his shirt. The doctor went off grum- 
bling at the high rate for washing in California." 


Mokelumne Hill having outgrown Jackson, was 
hankering for the distribution of the public moneys 
among her own people. According to the law passed 
by the Legislature in 1849-50, the county seat might 
be moved every year if a majority petitioned for an 
election and two-thirds voted for the change. It 
was little trouble to get names on a petition of any 
kind, and, as events subsequently proved, not very 
much trouble to get votes in those days. An election 
being ordered, Jackson would make an effort to keep 
it. Though Mokelumne Hill had the votes, Jackson 
had the talent and daring, which, once before, had 
captured the county seat. 

It was determined to gather a great multitude by 
means of a free bull-fight, hoping to out-vote Mokel- 
umne Hill. Accordingly a corral was prepared, bulls 
engaged, and great inducements offered, or, as the 
play bills said, unparalleled attraction. 

The bulls, some seven or eight in number, were 
brought in some day or two before, and fierce looking 
fellows they were, with their long slender horns and 
sleek hides, and the excitement was immense. It 
looked as if Jackson had got the bulge on the Mokel- 
umne " Hellyons." Lest the cattle might be sur- 
reptitiously turned loose, a guard of three or four 
men with rifles, was stationed at the gate to insure 
the safe keeping of the animals. But the Mok- 
Hillians were not asleep. They began to gather in 
horses; they were not going to be beaten with a bull- 
fight. They announced that the bull-fight was not 
coming off. A delegation of trusty men was sent to 
Jackson to watch the enemy. During the night they 
plied the guards so well with whisky that they slept 
at their posts, during Avhich time the Mok-Hill- 
ians quietly undid the fastenings without disturbing 
the sentinels. Getting on the opposite side of the 
corral they raised a great hullabalo, hearing which 
the guards sprang to their feet only to be tossed and 
trampled by the infuriated beasts, which charged at 
a run through the open gate and were gone in a 

The Spanish bulls having gone, an attempt was 
made to get up an entertainment with American cat- 
tle, but they would not entertain worth a cent, and 
the crowd programme was a failure. It was now 
learned what the horses at Mokelumne Hill were for. 
Bands of men were riding furiously all over the coun- 
try voting at every precinct, but the horses of 
Jackson were few, and when the sun went down 
Jackson was beaten, because the other